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Apr-20-2013 10:29printcomments

Polk County Sheriff Announces Staff Reductions

Between March 11, 2013 and April 15, 2013, during the non coverage hours there have been 56 non-emergency calls which were not responded too.

Sheriff Bob Wolfe photo: polkio.com
Sheriff Bob Wolfe photo: polkio.com

(DALLAS,OR) - Two months before the official staff reductions were to occur, Polk County Sheriff Bob Wolfe announces the reduction of staff which will avoid deputies being laid off in July. The following employees have accepted positions with other local law enforcement agencies, and one announced their retirement.

Detective Burney Krauger announced his retirement effective June 30, 2013. Det. Krauger is our lead Child Abuse investigator among the other investigations he does and will be a tremendous loss to our agency, stated Sheriff Bob Wolfe. Det. Krauger has been with Polk County Sheriff's Office for 18 years.

Martin Powell, accepted a position as patrolman with Keizer Police Department. Martin Powell has 5 1/2 years experience as a patrol deputy with an additional 4 1/2 years as a reserve with Polk County.

Pete Walker, accepted a position in the criminal enforcement division with Marion County Sheriff's Office. Pete Walker has almost 5 years of experience as a patrol deputy, with some experience in corrections.

Patrick McConnell, accepted a position as a patrolman with the Grand Ronde Tribal Police Department. Patrick McConnell has 3 1/2 years of experience as a patrol deputy.

Due to these staff reductions, including an internal transfer request by Deputy Shane Zook from the patrol division to the jail division, we will be within our budget starting on July 1, 2013. The county budget is a fiscal year budget which runs from July 1 - June 30, each year. Sheriff Wolfe stated, "At least this year, unlike last year I did not need to call employees into my office and tell them they were no longer going to be employed."

Last year the Sheriff's Office eliminated eight (8) control room technicians from the jail division to meet budget reductions. Some of these employees had been with the Sheriff's Office for nearly 18 years.

Effective March 11, 2013 the sheriff reorganized the patrol division and reduced patrol from 24/7 to 20 hours a day, seven days a week. Sheriff Bob Wolfe stated, "The reduction was necessary as I already knew our employees were looking for work or were already in background for other agencies. I am pleased for these employees and their families that these other agencies have offered them a job."

Between March 11, 2013 and April 15, 2013, during the non coverage hours there have been 56 non-emergency calls which were not responded too. There have been 31 high priority calls that were responded to by a patrol sergeant often times backed up by another supervisor or assisted by local agencies and at times Oregon State Police. Sheriff Wolfe stated, "Even I have responded to a reported physical domestic call and took a person into custody." For high priority calls, two officers are required to respond for officer safety reasons. We are very concerned about delayed responses and the impact this might have on our citizens.

The budget for fiscal year 2013-2014 was tentatively approved on April 5, 2013 by the Polk County Budget Committee. Prior to the budget session the sheriff's office was looking at a reduction of five (5) patrol positions, however, the budget committee only reduced four (4) positions. Sheriff Bob Wolfe stated, "The Board of Commissioners and the Budget Committee had some very difficult decisions and clearly they demonstrated their commitment to public safety in the tentatively approved budget". The final budget will be approved on May 15, 2013.

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