Lane County Sheriff Tom Turner held a press conference late this week, telling reporters and the public that he will be eliminating 84 jail beds. His reason, 3.2 million in budget cuts by the county, according to the Register-Guard.
The loss of jail beds is part of a variety of cuts coming from the Sheriff’s Office. An Associate Press article that ran in The Oregonian, states the Sheriff’s Office will be unable to respond to property and financial crimes. Turner and the county will be asking citizens to help out by reporting these crimes and filling out a form. There will also no longer be 24-hour patrols.
Some county officials were not happy about Turner’s decision and thought he should have deliberated longer. But Turner didn’t see any other option and realized this was the last possible cuts he could make. On the KLCC website, he’s quoted saying, “The next cut is divisions get shut down so it’d be stopping patrol services, stopping parole and probation, stopping the jail. That’s how close we are. And unlike years in the past, where some sort of save would come in, due to the economic climate, I just don’t see those in the future.”
The Register-Guard reports that 321 beds will remain open. 52 job positions have been lost along with the 84 beds, including jail guards and workers providing food and medical assistance to inmates.