Frustrated and frightened.
That's the way many residents in Josephine County feel when they call 9-1-1 and there's no one able to respond. Now they are out of money and down to just a few deputies for the whole county after tax levy's have failed.
The 9-1-1 call says it all.
"911 emergency?" asks the dispatcher.
"My ex-boyfriend is trying to break into my house. I’m not letting him in but he’s like, tried to break down the door and he’s tried to break into one of the windows," said the caller who cried out for help.
A rural Josephine County woman fearing for her life calls 9-1-1 as her ex-boyfriend Michael Bellah tries to break into her home in the middle of the night last summer.
The woman explains that bellah has a violent past.
"He put me in the hospital a few weeks ago and i have been trying to keep him away," says the caller.
But the Josephine County Sheriff's office isn't able to respond because of thier limited hours and staff. So she's transferred to the Oregon State Police, but again no help. Other than words from the dispatcher.
"Uh, I don’t have anybody to send out there. Uou know, obviously, if he comes inside the residence and assaults you, can you ask him to go away?" asks the dispatcher.
The woman replies, I’ve already asked him. I’ve already told him I was calling you. He’s broken in before, busted down my door, assaulted me."
And that's exactly what he did again. He was arrested later that day by state police and now sits in the state prison in Pendleton.
The unidentified victim's story is similar to a lot of others and lawmakers have had enough.
The Oregon House of Representatives is currently reviewing house-bill 3453 which in a nutshell would give the governor the authority to declare a financial emergency for each county and levy new taxes to pay for public safety.
Something that at least half of Josephine County voters and commissioner Simon Hare do not agree with.
"I'm never for authority being usurped by the state. I think we are best in a position to reflect the will of the people here and I always advocate for local control," said Hare.?
It's unclear how much of mandated tax would be.