Grants Pass Dept. of Public Safety
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News Releases
Fire Danger Level Decreases for City of Grants Pass (Photo) - 09/16/19

The recent rain and cooler temperatures have made it possible to decrease fire restrictions across Southwest Oregon, affecting the City of Grants Pass. The public fire danger within the City of Grants Pass will lower to “low” (green), effective as of 8:00 a.m. on Monday, September 16, 2019.

Under low fire danger, public fire restrictions in effect include:

  • No debris burning, including piles and debris burned in burn barrels.
  • Campfires are allowed in designated campgrounds, and on private land with the landowner’s permission. Portable stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels may be used as well.
  • Motorized vehicles are allowed only on improved roads; one shovel and one gallon of water, or one 2.5 pound or larger fire extinguisher, is required while traveling.
  • Smoking while traveling will only be allowed in enclosed vehicles on improved roads, in boats on the water and other specifically designated locations.

Attached Media Files: Fire_Danger_Green.jpg
Current HIDTA Counties
Current HIDTA Counties
Josephine County Designated as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) (Photo) - 09/10/19

Today, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) announced it is adding 13 additional counties across 12 states to its existing High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program.

Designation of these areas will facilitate coordination among Federal, State, local, and tribal law enforcement partners focused on disrupting and dismantling drug trafficking organizations. The newly designated counties, with the names of the existing HIDTA they will be joining, include:

Boyd County, Kentucky (Appalachia HIDTA)

Anderson County, Tennessee (Appalachia HIDTA)

Fayette County, West Virginia (Appalachia HIDTA)

Floyd County, Georgia (Atlanta/Carolinas HIDTA)

Allen County, Indiana (Indiana HIDTA)

Gloucester County, New Jersey (Liberty Mid-Atlantic HIDTA)

Bucks County, Pennsylvania (Liberty Mid-Atlantic HIDTA)

Oswego County, New York (New York/New Jersey HIDTA)

Olmsted County, Minnesota (North Central HIDTA)

Louis County, Minnesota (North Central HIDTA)

Warren County, Virginia (Washington/Baltimore HIDTA)

Josephine County, Oregon (Oregon/Idaho HIDTA)

Worcester County, Maryland (Washington/Baltimore HIDTA)

“The proven success of our HIDTA program is a direct result of the hard work of those on the frontlines of this fight, and the invaluable partnerships they’ve formed with law enforcement groups across the Nation. From day one, the Trump Administration has strongly supported the men and women dedicated to stopping deadly drugs from flowing into our communities, and we’re renewing that commitment once again today. By expanding our HIDTA program to these critical areas, we are providing more resources to help achieve our mission of keeping more of our family members, friends, and neighbors safe.” ONDCP Director Jim Carroll said.

In 2018, President Trump, through ONDCP, established the first new HIDTA program in 17 years to combat emerging threats in Alaska, bringing to completion the Administration’s effort to ensure that all 50 States receive funding through the program.

In 2018, HIDTA Program initiatives:

Dismantled nearly 3,000 drug trafficking organizations

Removed $16.5 billion in wholesale value of drugs from the street

Made nearly 99,000 arrests

Attached Media Files: Current HIDTA Counties
Arrests / Drug Seizure - 09/10/19

On 09-05-19 at around 2pm, RADE detectives executed a search and seizure warrant at 4076 New Hope Rd., Grants Pass, Josephine County. The warrant was made possible after several months of investigating Joseph William Gargano, 48 years of age, into selling methamphetamine and heroin from this location. Gargano was taken into custody and found to be in possession of more than a 1/2 pound of methamphetamine, 1/4 oz. of heroin, scales, packaging material and more than $2000 dollars in cash. Also seized was a .44 caliber revolver Gargano was possessing. He was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for DCS/PCS methamphetamine and heroin as well as Felon in Possession of a Firearm and a Probation Violation (PV) detainer. During the investigation, Justin Lee Sidener and Timothy Lee Messer were also taken into custody and lodged on warrants and PV detainers.

DUII and Distracted Driving Enforcement (August 2019) - 09/09/19

            During the month of August and into the Labor Day Weekend, the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety once again joined forces with other Oregon law enforcement agencies to participate in High Visibility Enforcement Operations. Patrols were increased to aggressively look for drug and alcohol impaired drivers and those driving while distracted by their cell phones.

            During the month, the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety arrested (33) people for driving under the influence of intoxicants – alcohol and/or controlled substances. (57) Drivers were issued citations or arrested for Driving on a Suspended License, (40) drivers were cited for using their cell phones, and (9) juveniles were cited for being in possession of alcohol.

            The Grants Pass Department of Public Safety encourages the motoring public to plan ahead and designate a sober driver. Police also encourage citizens who witness suspected impaired drivers to contact police immediately.

Coffee with a Cop (Photo) - 09/09/19

Join your neighbors and your Grants Pass DPS Police Officers at Human Bean Coffee (840 NE F Street) on September 12, 2019, from 10am to 12pm to connect over coffee and casual conversation about issues that matter most to you in our community.

Human Bean Coffee, along with Rogue Roasters, Starbucks and Dutch Bros, has partnered with DPS for Coffee with a Cop events around Grants Pass. The purpose of these community engagements is to simply discuss your questions, concerns, or stories. We, as your police department, will not have an agenda to present. Rather, we will let you decide the topics for discussion.

We are excited for this chance to interact with our citizens in a low-key manner.  This is an opportunity for all of us to communicate positively and build relationships with each other.  We appreciate the invitations of these local coffee shops to open their doors to the police department and citizens of Grants Pass.

Please join us at Human Bean Coffee on NE F Street this Thursday, September 12th, for the next Coffee with a Cop!

Attached Media Files: LOGO.jpg
Missing possibly endangered juvenile (Photo) - 09/07/19

After 5 hours of intense searching by the police, 13 yo Ethan Pitari was located at a residence in Grants Pass.  Ethan was safely returned home. 

There is no further interest in this investigation.  Any questions please call the Grants Pass Dept. of Public Safety Detective Division at 541-450-6260.  


Attached Media Files: Ethan.jpeg
Grants Pass Fugitives Arrested in Las Vegas (Photo) - 08/28/19

On August 13, 2019 Michael Christopher Hardy was arrested by U.S. Marshals in Las Vegas Nevada.  Between 2013 and 2014, the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety opened several fraud/theft investigations involving Michael Hardy.  The investigations revealed at least 15 local residents were defrauded by Hardy, and his girlfriend Debra "Cox" Hardy.  The total amount of monetary loss among the victims is believed to exceed $100,000.  Michael Hardy and Debra "Cox" Hardy were indicted by a Josephine County Grand Jury in February of 2014.  Michael was indicted on 22 counts of Theft in the first degree, two counts of Aggravated Theft in the first degree, and one count of theft in the second degree.  Michael and Debra "Cox" Hardy left Grants Pass before they could be arrested and have been fugitives for several years. Michael Hardy was lodged at the Clark County Jail. Hardy is fighting extradition back to Oregon.  The process has begun in order to have Hardy extradited back to Oregon to face the charges.

Working in cooperation with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department's Fugitive Unit, Grants Pass Police urged  Debra"Cox" Hardy to contact officials in Nevada in order to obtain information on Michael Hardy's custody status. On August 24th, 2019 Debra "Cox" Hardy was contacted at the Clark County Jail.  "Cox" Hardy was arrested by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police on similar charges as Michael Hardy.  Debra "Cox" Hardy is also fighting extradition back to Oregon to face local charges.  The Grants Pass Department of Public Safety would like to thank the U.S. Marshal Service, and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for their assistance.  

Attached Media Files: Hardy-Cox
Christopher Nettifee
Christopher Nettifee
On-line Sex Offense Investigation (Photo) - 08/28/19


Christopher Robert Nettifee 46yo male


Attempted Use of Child in Display and Online Sexual Corruption of a Child II


Grants Pass Detectives had been investigating Christopher Nettifee over the last few weeks regarding complaints that Christopher was contacting juvenile females on-line. The subsequent investigation revealed that Christopher was sending graphic  photographs of himself to a juvenile female. Christopher was also requesting nude photographs from the juvenile female in return. Christopher was arrested and lodged at the Josephine County Jail on the above listed charges.

The Grants Pass Department of Public Safety would like to remind parents to become familiar with the different social media sites and apps their children are using.  For parents interested in seeking out information related to these sites and apps, you can find information on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's Website. Newsweek also recently published an article titled, 15 APPS DANGEROUS FOR CHILDREN. Below are the links to both sites.



Attached Media Files: Christopher Nettifee
Burglary Arrest (Photo) - 08/24/19




Gustin III, Joseph J.   WMA (31 Years Old)

Grants Pass Resident

Burglary in the Second Degree-3 Counts
Attempted Burglary in the Second Degree
Criminal Mischief in the First Degree- 2 Counts
Theft in the First Degree- 2 Counts
Theft in the First Degree (Receiving/Selling)
Attempted Theft in the Second Degree
Forgery in the First Degree
Theft in the Third Degree


Beginning in early March of 2019, Officer with the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety (GPDPS) responded to several commercial burglaries where entry was made via the rooftops of local businesses. The investigation into these incidents have been ongoing. On May 1, 2019, Officers responded to an alarm at Shop River Rock (966 SW 6th Street) and located a possible burglary suspect. The suspect fled from officers on foot and was not apprehended at that time. It was determined the suspect had entered the gift shop through a second floor door, which was accessed via the roof.

On August 23, 2019, another alarm at the location revealed a second burglary had been committed at Shop River Rock where entry was made through the rooftop door. During both incidents several thousand dollars in purses and jewelry were stolen. During the second burglary, the suspect had also caused several thousand dollars in property damage by forcing entry. Video surveillance of the suspect was obtained and lead investigators to identify Joseph Gustin III as the suspect.

On August 24, 2019, Gustin returned to the gift shop and was recognized by employees. Police responded, detained Gustin, and transported him to the Grants Pass Police Department for further investigation. At the conclusion, Gustin was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on the above listed charges. Through the investigation, it was determined Gustin is linked to five of the previous rooftop burglaries.  Gustin is being charged with crimes related to those cases.

These incidents are still under investigation and anyone with further information is asked to contact Detective John Lohrfink with the Grants Pass Department of Public safety at 541-450-6260.  

Attached Media Files: Gustin.PNG
Rhodes, Felicia
Rhodes, Felicia
Menacing Arrest (Photo) - 08/23/19


Rhodes, Felicia Christine      WFA, 36 years old

Grants Pass Resident.  

Unlawful use of a weapon x3

Menacing x3

Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree x2

On 8/22/2019 at approximately 8:06 am, Officers received a report of a female in a silver Toyota 4 door pointing a handgun at other drivers near SE M Street and SE 6th Street.  Several officers checked the area and the suspect vehicle was not located. Approximately an hour later, dispatch received a second call involving the same vehicle  near NE 7th Street and NE B Street.  The female was again menacing subjects with a handgun and fled the scene in the silver Toyota.   

Officers again respodned and began searching for the suspect vehicle. Officers located the vehicle and conducted a high risk vehicle stop on Ringuette Street near Union Ave.  36 year old Felicia Christine Rhodes was stopped and taken into custody on the listed charges.  She was found in possession .40 caliber handgun. No shots were fired and there were no injuries as a result of these incidents. 

Anyone who may have witnessed any additional incidents or with further information regarding this case is asked to contact Officer Maldonado with the Grants Pass Department of Public safety at 541-450-6260 and reference Case # 19-40768

Attached Media Files: Rhodes, Felicia