Society

Citizens Create Armed Patrol Groups, Won't Raise Taxes to Pay for Sheriff's Office

| by Michael Allen

Residents of Josephine County, Ore. are going out on armed patrols because of the cut backs experienced by the local sheriff's department.

Josephine County officials tried to pass a 2012 tax to pay for law enforcement, but the residents voted against it.

The Josephine County Sheriff’s Office was closed, inmates were released from the local jail and there are only two deputies who respond to “life-threatening situations.”

Ken Selig, a former law enforcement officer, and his friend Pete Scaglione formed the North Valley Community Watch, an armed patrol of 12 people that responds to non-life-threatening situations such as property crimes.

“Who else is going to protect you when your government can't?” Selig asked Fox News. “We believe responsible citizens doing responsible things make it hard for criminals to do irresponsible things.”

The North Valley Community Watch is not the only citizen's group patrolling the area, there are other armed neighborhood groups as well.

Sue Williams told the Associated Press back in November that her armed patrol group is trying to deter crime, but is non-confrontational.

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Another armed group is called "Citizens Against Crime."

"We are trying to be proactive instead of reactive," Sam Nichols, of Citizens Against Crime, told KOBL. "Ours has been so successful in 15 months [we have been] lowering the crime to almost zero."

Sheriff Gil Gilbertson of the Josephine County Sheriff's Office supports the armed citizen groups: "Safety in numbers as a collective group of people protecting each other is more likely to send that criminal somewhere else, isn't that what you want?"

"If they do what they law prescribes in terms of how much force you can use in given situations and so forth follow what's prescribed in Oregon statute you're going to be okay," added Sheriff Gilbertson.

Sources: Fox News, Associated Press, KOBL