Jail Cutback Reaction

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Thu, May 31 2012 at 4:18 PM, Updated: Thu, May 31 2012 at 4:38 PM

Wednesday's release of 39 inmates from the Josephine County Jail had a familiar ring to people living in Klamath County...

Klamath County Jail Commander Jeanette Davidson says she understands what her counterparts in Josephine County are going through.  "Right now, they're on a cliff about to fall off, and we feel their pain."

In June of 2010, a tight budget resulted in a cutback in the number of available beds at the Klamath County Jail - with 154 beds being cut down to just 64. 

Many of those arrested then were booked and released, and then failed to appear in court.

Klamath Falls residents have some tips for their friends in Grants Pass:

"I would say use common sense, and lock your doors more.  Just be cautious, and more secure."  - Abigail Nelson

"Just watch out for each other.  And take the law into your own hands if you have to.  Because nobody else is going to help you."  - Bob Mayfield

"The only way to protect the people is to get more police on the street, I believe." - Jerry Maddox

Tapping into Klamath County's 100 million dollar road fund reserve has boosted jail capacity to 116.  But Lieutenant Davidson notes that number of beds isn't guaranteed...

"We're hoping that with the road fund piece, that we'll be able to cobble together funding to keep it open for a year, and then see what the commissioners want to do."

And, what the taxpayers are willing to fund.

Lieutenant Davidson says that she could still use more jail beds.  Over the Memorial Day weekend, 17 inmates were released to make room for those coming in on more serious charges.

About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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