Polk Co. Sheriff's Office
Loss of Patrols Having a Impact - 08/14/14
Since March 29th this year through August 1st Polk County Sheriff's Office has been reduced to only one 10 hour patrol shift a day, seven days a week. During this time there have been 811 calls come into the Willamette Valley Communication Center requesting a deputy respond to a call for assistance or reporting a crime but, there has not been a deputy on duty to respond.
"In a few cases we have called a supervisor out of bed because the dispatcher told them medics were also responding to the call due to reported injuries generally involving a domestic disturbance" stated Sheriff Bob Wolfe. The Sheriff's Office previously handled all calls, 24 hours a day, while providing back up to local law enforcement agencies. Now even the fire departments are handling traffic crashes where they call for tow trucks and clean up the scene without a deputy there to investigate. This potentially impacts the insurance companies who no longer have the crash investigation done by a deputy at the scene.
Sheriff Bob Wolfe stated, "This is frustrating for us and I am very concerned about the impacts this is having on my employees. It is extremely challenging to respond to high priority calls knowing that your back-up is coming from across the county. In some cases we call upon a local municipal agency to leave their city to assist us, but then this leaves the city without their officer because they are helping cover the county"
The local fire departments have expressed concern and frustration when an ambulance is required to wait for law enforcement to arrive at the scene of a medical call that is not safe and secure for their medics. Delays, at times lengthy, could have a significant impact on the victim. At 2:00 AM a dispatcher must call the on call supervisor, wake them up, brief them on the call to determine if they will respond. If the supervisor decides the situation needs an emergency response, the supervisor must get dressed, get his equipment, call out another deputy, adding additional delay to the response as they get ready to respond. Then both must drive to the location. All this could add as much as 30 plus minutes to a victim who needs immediate assistance.
"I am very concerned about the impacts these delays have on the employees at the Willamette Valley Communication Center who are having people ask for help, the medics who are not able to enter a residence due to potential risk to their safety, and my deputy who now must make important decisions after being woke up by the phone call" stated Sheriff Bob Wolfe
Another impact beginning to show up is the decline in the arrest made by deputies, meaning more criminals who should be in custody are not because patrol only works 10 hours a day. "Between March 29th and August 1st there has been a 45% decrease in arrest by Polk County Deputies" stated Sheriff Bob Wolfe
Fatal Accident on Corvallis Road south of Independence (Photo)
On 8-11-2014 at about 1500 hours members of the Polk County Sheriff's Office, Polk #1 Fire and Oregon State Police responded to the scene of a single vehicle fatal accident on Corvallis Road near Haley Road. According to witnesses the involved black 1989 Honda Civic was travelling northbound on Corvallis Road at a high rate of speed. The driver, later identified as Jacob McClain of Monmouth, lost control of the car just north of the above listed intersection as it went over a rise in the roadway. Witnesses indicated that the car lifted off the roadway entirely as it went over the rise and just prior to skidding out of control. The vehicle rolled several times before coming to rest on the east side of Corvallis road.
Mr. McClain was thrown from the car and was pronounced dead at the scene. The vehicle wreckage was extensive and included the entire engine being thrown from the engine compartment.
OSP assisted the Polk County Sheriff's Office with creating a to-scale diagram of the accident scene. Anyone with information in regard to the accident is encouraged to contact the Polk County Sheriff's Office at 503-623-9251.