MEDFORD, Ore. — The Josephine County Sheriff was quick Friday to point to budget cuts as playing a central role in a five-hour delay in responding to a missing Alzheimer’s patient who was found dead in her wheelchair.
Sheriff Gil Gilbertson said his office will conduct an internal review to identify what went wrong after June Rice, 73, was reported missing to 911, the Oregon State Police and another county sheriff’s office at about 1 p.m. Wednesday — a report that didn’t get to his office until 6:30 p.m.
Gilbertson said cutbacks at his department, part of a $12 million county budget gap, meant no Josephine County patrol deputy or dispatcher was scheduled to work until 3 p.m.
At about 1:10 p.m., OSP dispatchers sent an attempt-to-locate message to three troopers working out of the agency’s Grants Pass office, said State police spokesman Lt. Gregg Hastings. They were not in the general area of the search and none went to that area. Attempt-to-locate dispatches from other agencies are common and troopers typically keep an eye out for the people described, he said.