After federal cuts left the sheriff’s office in Josephine County, Oregon, unable to respond to all but “life-threatening situations,” citizens of the county banded together in armed community watches to respond to other levels of crime.
According to Fox News, “nearly 70 percent of the land [in Josephine County] is owned by the U.S. government” and the county government grew accustomed to relying on “federal timber subsidies to pay the bills.”
When the feds canceled the funds in 2012 county officials tried to pass a new $7.5 million tax on county citizens to make up the shortfall. The citizens rejected the tax and the sheriff’s office has steadily reduced services as monies have dried up.
In addition to limiting responses to “life-threatening situations,” the sheriff’s office advised citizens who want or need more law enforcement services to relocate.
Former law enforcement officer Ken Selig found the sheriff’s refusal to respond to any but life-threatening calls “unacceptable.” He joined forces with friends and formed the North Valley Community Watch, which is one of many watches that have formed in lieu of sheriff’s services.
Selig’s community watch team consists of approximately 100 members, including 12 who are specially designated as an armed “response team.”
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