POLK COUNTY, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Reduced patrols in Polk County are noticeably impacting response times to 911 calls in the area. In some cases, a deputy won’t even show up.
Polk County Sheriff Bob Wolfe said the decreased response times could be putting people’s lives in danger.
“When you have situations where people have someone that is shooting a gun and setting a house on fire and we have to call a deputy out of bed, it takes him an additional 30 minutes just to get to scene,” said Wolfe.
Since cuts to patrol hours started back in March, reduced patrols have impacted 911 calls from 811 people, according to a press release from the sheriff’s office.
“Between March 29 and Aug. 1, there has been a 45% decrease in arrests by Polk County deputies,” Wolfe said.
With only one 10-hour patrol shift a day, the county depends on other agencies to respond to most calls between the hours of 10 p.m. and noon.
“The fact is unless we get an infusion of additional money, the sheriff’s office will continue to see decreases and eventually there will be no patrols whatsoever,” said Wolfe.
Wolfe said with dwindling resources and timber payments, the only way to increase patrols would be to pass a tax levy.
“There are some people that said, ‘No, no more taxes. Absolutely not.’ and the other side: ‘Of course. Well we got to have some patrols.,’” said Wolfe.