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Sheriff Addresses State of County Safety

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EUGENE, Ore. — The state of public safety was the topic at hand Thursday.

Lane County Sheriff Tom Turner, joined by District Attorney Alex Garner, Commissioner Sid Leiken, and many other public safety heads, addressed the media and ultimately the public about the still very bleak state of public safety in Lane County, and the alarming future that lies ahead if additional funding isn’t fostered.

Sheriff Turner began with a breakdown of the next two years. His math shows that with reductions in federal funding and if no additional revenue is allocated for his department, by fiscal year 2014-2015, they will only have enough money in the budget to operate 26 jail beds, down from the current 135, and they will have to completely eliminate all patrol, civil service and enforcement, and numerous other repercussions.

He emphasized this is a what if situation but a very likely one if they don’t settle on a solution.

“This is not a situation where we’re Chicken Littles running around saying the sky is going to fall and it doesn’t. The sky falls every year or every other year,” said Alex Gardner, Lane County District Attorney.

“These are assumptions. Obviously, things could change as they do all the time, but the problem that we’re facing right now is that we do not see this help in sight, especially not with any of these existing programs, so with that we’re going to have to come up with a new way to come up with a revenue stream,” Turner said.

The proposed solutions are hoping for a revival in federal timber money, which is pretty far out of county control, and possibly passing a public safety tax, even though history shows the county is 0-for-14 in that department.

They’re hoping to develop a tax proposal that is inexpensive enough for citizens, so that they’re willing to vote for it, but also enough to maybe even bring back a handful of jail beds and even some patrolling officers.

Commissioner Leiken said the board hopes to have a more clear idea of what that measure could be sometime in February.

7 comments

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  1. Bobbles says:

    Let private enterprise, not the unions, run the system and there will be plenty of funding to do it all.

    1. jason marks says:

      the county did this to us.

      they refused to bring a measure to voters.

      They refuse to be accountable for their decisions.

      Voters are idiots… look who is getting to keep their jobs…

  2. Postone says:

    This is an excerpt from this article:

    “Lane County Sheriff Tom Turner, joined by District Attorney Alex Garner, Commissioner Sid Leiken, and many other public safety heads, addressed the media and ultimately the public about the still very bleak state of public safety in Lane County, and the alarming future that lies ahead if additional funding isn’t fostered.”

    In a word or a couple of letters. “”!!BS””!!

    What the Sheriff and others don’t say about this crime is that it’s low level! Anyone caught for rape, armed robbery, murder, battery are not getting out of Jail! Only low level thieves who steal to support their drug habits, things of this nature! That’s not to say less police won’t effect safety, but certainly not to the degree this fear mongering Sheriff is stating it will!

    Local law enforcement has been fear mongering about crime and criminals ever since the bottom fell out in 2008. I’ve have yet to see this terrible siege on the community by thugs! It’s just not true!

    Law enforcement and the powers that be enjoyed unlimited cash flow for a very long time. They never tighten their belts. Lets be real here, there were very rich years when law enforcement and the powers that be could have saved for a rainy day yet did NOT! Local government have a spend, spend, and spend some more attitude! They don’t save for anything, if they get a few extra bucks they figure out a way to spend it! So I would certainly put a good percentage of blame on the powers that be, for just plain blowing money when they should have been saving it! Most of us live within a budget (although some live check to check) and know the absolute need to save for a rainy day! If we don’t there is no taxpayer or government that is going to bail us out!

    The Sheriff’s department won’t get to have all their toys and unlimited over time anymore! Those days are over and should never have been! They enjoyed all that money and funding year after year and never once thought once to save some money for a rainy day! Well guess what it’s pouring now! So you can thank the Sheriff’s in the past (and now) for their poor management of funds they were getting for decades!

    I make about $15.00 an hour but I have enough money to live the way I live as though I’m working for at a least a year without a job! This doesn’t include emergency money I have saved! If I can do that on $15 an hour how come these elected college graduates can’t save any money?

    Maybe law enforcement officers could see their way to work say two days a month free in support of their community? Maybe since they (Police and Sheriff) are so worried about this terrible crime wave (that has yet to come) they could work two hours at the end of their shift for free, in order to ensure safety in the community? There is a zillion ways we could help with protecting the community without have to break the bank, of course this probably won’t happen and for obvious reasons…

    You people in local government, and law enforcement have to make a choice one day, do we save or do we continue to spend and then cry to the taxpayer and to government for more money?

    Good luck with the fear mongering guys and gals, I for one am not buying it.

  3. Dave says:

    It is the responsibility of County officials to provide adequate public safety however they need to do it, not to threaten the public with less public safety if they do not meet official’s demands. Recall the Sheriff and County Commission!

  4. Putyourmoneywhereyourmouthis says:

    why don’t you more ‘conservative’ and fiscally minded commissioners take the lead and offer a symbol of your commitment by cutting your own annual salaries in half! there’s nothing that justifies you clowns pocketing 70K for the nothing you do each year :-)

  5. Mike W says:

    Dad? Why do I have to do my school work & be good & do as I am asked & abide by the law when some flunky just killed someone & was released from jail?

  6. Mike W says:

    The “Revolving Door Policy” lies squarely at the feet of City & County officials (they are not leaders). We as citizens have the right to a safe City & County. The City & County Commissioners & officials have the RESPONSIBILITY to keep us safe. The budgets have been mismanaged to the point where they say raising taxes is the only solution. Really? Criminals on the street or a new water park? Or, criminals on the street or lets hire a firm to look at logistics and cost analysis studies? Or, criminals on the street or disappoint a few donors to my campaign. & on & on & on… Well it is pretty easy to see what is important to the so called leaders of Lane County & the City of Eugene. It is nearly too late to do anything about it & all “they” continue to do is cut vital services to use funding elsewhere. BS! Law enforcement & Public Safety (Police, Fire & Ambulance) should be THE ONLY AGENGA ITEM for the Commissioners to discuss until it is remedied. No more revolving door. No more repeat offenders. Lock their asses up! They deserve it, We deserve it! Our “leadership” is leading all right. Right down the sewer! I am tired of being held hostage at the polls for services that are supposed to be GUARANTEED. How about this, we charge the commissioners with failing to do their basic job of protecting the citizens & toss them in the jail. They’ll be out tomorrow ready to vote on the next diversion of funds. Replace these meatheads! They have created a society where we all live with the criminals because they are among us. Praying on us, taking away our rights, our decency, our justice and for some, our lives.

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