Budget problems in one Oregon county has it’s citizens protecting life and property, creating armed patrols in defiance of local officials.
Josephine County has a budget problem after the U.S Government terminated timber subsidies which the county relied heavily on. 70% of the land area in Josephine county is owned by the Federal Government. To try and make up the shortfall, county officials tried to levy a tax to cover the 7.5 million dollar discrepancy. However, residents voted against the levy.
In usual fashion when politicians don’t get their revenue, they hit public safety departments first. To punish the residents, the Sheriff’s Office major crimes unit was closed, dozens of prisoners were released from their jail cells. Also, the department cut their hours of operation to Monday-Friday, eight hours a day. The Sheriff’s office issued a press release to further spit in the face of the public. The release states: “Our deputies will only be responding to what we deem as life-threatening situations”.
Ken Selig, the longest serving law enforcement officer in the agency was forced to retire due to the cuts. Ken found the department’s declaration unacceptable, so he and his friend formed the North Valley Watch. A county-wide group to help citizens in non-life-threatening situations. They are armed and this has angered the very people that brought on the situation. Selig says they are mostly a deterrent presence.
I applaud the people of Josephine county and the people that take on the responsibility when their local officials fail. They didn’t buckle and were not intimidated by the local officials. This is what Americans do!