More sheriff’s cuts loom

POLK COUNTY — Two deputies will be laid off from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office after the citizens of Columbia County passed a jail levy during the May 20 election.    Columbia County’s backup plan, had its levy failed, was to rent beds for up to 10 inmates, bringing in nearly $300,000 in revenue to the Polk County Sheriff’s Department.    “I might be able to reassign them to the jail, but I’m not sure at this point,” Sheriff Bob Wolfe said. “I’m not sure we’ll be able to keep them.”    The loss comes on the heels of four deputies finding more secure work elsewhere, all since February.    Wolfe said he had hoped to return to 20-hour patrols on July 1, once the contract between the department and the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde ended, but with the further loss of two deputies, that won’t be possible.    “If you look at my schedule right now, I only have two deputies working patrol,” Wolfe said. “I will need four deputies (from Grand Ronde) to fill in patrol.”    The sheriff’s office will barely be able to maintain the current 10-hour patrols, Wolfe said.    Wolfe said the county needs to stabilize its funding.    “Between now and next year, unless something changes, I’m going to lose some more people,”?Wolfe said. “The cost continues to go up, but the revenue isn’t coming in.”    Meanwhile, Wolfe said he is in discussions with the Benton County sheriff in Corvallis to see if Polk County can rent jail beds to that agency.    “They are renting beds from Yamhill County and are under contract, so we won’t be able to do anything right away,” Wolfe said.    Does it Matter?    • From March 29 through May 31, while no sheriff’s deputy was on duty from 10 p.m. to noon, the following calls came in: 28 accidents, 77 driving complaints, six burglaries, 15 thefts, 11 welfare checks, 12 domestic disturbances, 13 suspicious activity, four suspicious persons and three drug complaints.    


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment