Josephine County releases dozens of inmates from jail. Now, less than twenty-four hours later, residents are nervous as the county finalizes the closure of several law enforcement departments for good.
The phone rings inside the Josephine County records department. It's the jail calling but no one is around to answer it because budget cuts forced layoff in several departments. Empty rooms are around every corner and boxes are filled with police gear. Uniforms are folded and hung up to be stored away. The blinds are pulled down at the front counter. Next door, Grants Pass Public Safety has already seen the results of these closures, and a struggling county. Police chief, Joe Henner says, one man who was released from jail on Wednesday was last seen alive at Three Rivers Community Hospital- over dosed on a hard street drug. The police chief can't really anticipate what the future holds for their department now that the sheriff's department is largely closed. It's the complete opposite for county residents who say they're fearful with no place to go.There are just seven deputies to protect and serve an entire county and even less in other departments. Tomorrow the county will have to deal with whatever services are left. Period. City police say they won't intervene with county law business unless a deputy is in trouble. Grants Pass Public Safety also say they expect things to be "business as usual" but there are still major concerns about housing criminals considering that the jail only now has basically ten beds available.