GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Since last summer, up to 30 jail beds for those arrested just in the city limits of Grants Pass have been reserved at the Josephine County Jail. Now, as officials prepare for next year’s budget, they said that funding won’t return.
Last August, the days of cite and release ended in Grants Pass to the surprise of some criminals.
“When they went to put somebody in handcuffs and put them in the police car, the common statement was ‘when did you guys start doing this?’” said Interim Police Chief Bill Landis.
Landis said ever since the city began renting jail beds, the number of property crimes and burglaries have significantly decreased.
“When you can take some of those folks off who are stealing a lot of your cars or breaking in to a lot of your cars and put them in a jail bed, you reduce a lot of your crime,” Landis said.
The city made the move to rent up to 30 beds in an effort to do something about crime in the city. The contract came at a cost of around $1 million. About half a million was funded through the contingency fund, the rest was fund by cuts to city projects.
“Reduced approximately 12 different projects that we had in the budget, and we either tabled those or reduced those in order to get the additional funding for the jail beds,” said Grants Pass City Manager Aaron Cubic.
Cubic said because of funding, the contract was always intended to be just for one year.
“It’s meant to serve as a stop gap measure to provide additional time for the community to develop a new measure for the May election,” said Cubic.
Interim Chief Landis said since August, the jail has typically had near capacity of the 30 beds every month. He said patrols are only as good as the consequences behind them.
“You can put a police officer on every corner, but if you don’t have the ability to take somebody to jail and have them serve consequences for committing crimes, you’re not going to make an impact or put a dent in that,” Landis said.
The city’s agreement with the Josephine County Jail will come to an end on June 30.