Polk Co. Sheriff's Office
Deputy Resigns After 22 Years with Polk County Sheriff's Office - 03/03/14
Polk County Sheriff's Office continues to see staffing reductions through resignations as lay-offs are pending this coming July. On February 28, Deputy Rick Bojorquez, a 22 year veteran of the Polk County Sheriff's Office announced his resignation, effective March 11, 2014. Deputy Bojorquez started in August of 1991 as a corrections deputy and became a patrol deputy in December of 1993.
On February 24, 2014, Deputy David Mills left to accept a position with the Yamhill County Sheriff's Office. The next day, February 25, 2014 Sergeant Dustin Newman with 14 years experience worked his last day before going to Baker City Police Department.
Sheriff Bob Wolfe stated, "These losses are really impacting our ability to cover shifts, however, we are losing years of experience as well" Forecasted budget reductions to take effect in July are having impacts on patrol shifts now. With several other deputies actively seeking employment at other agencies additional patrol reductions are highly likely. "We have put into place a response plan which will require on-call personnel to get out of bed to respond to calls, adding to a delayed emergency response", stated Sheriff Bob Wolfe.
Starting March 1, 2014 the Sheriff's Office implemented new scheduling and emergency call out procedures when no patrol deputies are on duty. Local Police Chiefs, Fire Chiefs and Oregon State Police were notified of the limited response ability. Willamette Valley Communication Center has drafted special procedures for calling the on call sheriff's office personnel.
Polk County Sheriff's Office begins staffing cut-back - 02/18/14
Effective March 1, 2014 the Sheriff's Office will have new shifts with fewer employees. Sheriff Bob Wolfe stated, "Due to the loss of the Public Safety Levy in November and pending budget reductions this July, several employees are leaving for other law enforcement agencies prior to scheduled reductions in July" Deputy David Mills has accepted a job with the Yamhill County Sheriff's Office starting in March and Sergeant Dustin Newman has accepted a job with the Baker City Police Department. "During the campaign to pass the Public Safety Levy last fall, I was very upfront about the probability employees would start seeking employment at other agencies without any stabilized funding," stated Sheriff Bob Wolfe.
With the loss of these two employees, along with several other deputies putting in applications there is the continued struggle of trying to covers shifts which have been reduced to 20 hours per day since March of last year. To further add to staffing problems, three additional patrol members are off on extended medical leave putting staffing for patrol down by five deputies.
Sheriff Wolfe states, "We are now in a critical situation for staffing. We can no longer fill shifts with overtime due to cost and in general, no employees available to work overtime. Our response to critical incidents will be delayed at best, this is not in the best interest of those citizens calling 911, but we just do not have enough employees to respond promptly"
Even in the jail we are at minimum staffing and still have several employees unavailable to work due to medical issues. While the jail staffing is holding steady, should the need arise we would put patrol deputies in the jail to cover immediate needs in order to keep the jail adequately staffed for the safety and security of the jail and staff.
Deputy David Mills has been filling a vacant shift since last July which will be eliminated this July due to budget reductions. Sergeant Dustin Newman has been with the Sheriff's Office since April of 2001 and promoted to sergeant in February of 2009. Sheriff Wolfe stated, "The loss of these employees will have a huge impact on our patrol operations including the loss of training and experience"