Josephine County sheriff shuts detective division

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GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) -- The Josephine County sheriff's Office started shutting down departments Friday after voters turned down a $12 million a year levy to make up for the demise of a federal subsidy for timber counties.

First to go Friday were major crimes detectives and the records department. Next week road patrols will be cut to one shift a day, five days a week. Later next month about 60 jail inmates will be released, leaving room for just 30 prisoners.

Meanwhile, applications for permits to carry concealed handguns continued to rise along with concern over deep cuts to public safety. The 100 people filing new applications so far in May is triple the number for the same month last year.

Among them was Josephine County Commissioner Don Reedy, who told the Grants Pass Daily Courier (http://bit.ly/MO2U5K ) he is a little concerned about his safety after the failure of the levy to fund the sheriff's office.

"I thought it would be wise," he said of his application for a permit to carry a loaded gun hidden on his body. "You never know."

David Yurkovich of Grants Pass said he had been planning to get a concealed handgun permit for some time, but the failure of the levy prompted him to actually do it.

"It sounds like more crazies are going to be out in the county," he said. "I'm actually in the city, but I go out into the county."

The county animal shelter also faces painful cuts.

The county Public Health Department has asked county commissioners to close the shelter to the public to make up for a $345,000 budget shortfall. That will mean no more animal adoptions, and no more stray cats taken in. Stray dogs with tags will be euthanized after five days if no one claims them. Dogs without tags will be held for three days before being killed.

Commissioners have demanded the animal shelter be self-supporting since 2006. Public Health Director Diane Hoover said dog licensing fees and donations fall $345,000 short of operating costs without the cutbacks.

Commissioners said they had little choice but to make the cuts. They vote on Wednesday.


Information from: Daily Courier, http://www.thedailycourier.com