Loss of deputies impacts Polk County - KPTV - FOX 12

People in Polk County call 911 for help, told there's no one on duty to help them

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DALLAS, OR (KPTV) -

People in Polk County are calling 911 for help and are being told there's no one on duty to help. Deputies say that's because there's not enough funding in the budget to staff patrols overnight.

Sheriff Bob Wolfe tells FOX 12 that because of budget cuts,  his deputies only patrol between the hours of 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.

"It makes me sick to my stomach," said Wolfe.

Wolfe tells FOX 12 that in the past four months alone 811 people in his county have called for help, some even reporting a crime in action, but there's no one on duty to respond.

"The only way this gets any better is if we go to voters and ask for another levy to be passed. I'm telling you as sheriff of this county, that the county has not mismanaged one dollar. There's just no money in the budget," said Wolfe.

The tip of the iceberg, according to Wolfe was when he was forced to reduce his staff of 18 down to six this year. Wolfe says local fire departments are now being forced to handle their traffic crashes if there's no one on duty to respond.

"It's extremely frustrating to me and my officers. Since the day we left the academy, we've all been taught and programmed you go, you fix, you resolve. But we're not able to do that on a regular basis anymore," said Wolfe.

Another impact beginning to show up is the decline in arrests made by deputies. Wolfe says between March 29 and Aug. 1 of this year there has been a 45 percent decrease in arrests by Polk County deputies. He believes more criminals who should be in custody are not, because patrol only works 10 hours a day.

Wolfe tells FOX 12 that OSP has offered to help them out until 2 a.m., and in big cases they would call in off duty deputies and bring in help from surrounding counties.

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