Klamath County Veterans Court Hits Three Year Mark

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Tue, November 12 2013 at 4:27 PM, Updated: Tue, November 12 2013 at 4:37 PM

Oregon's first veterans court is celebrating a 3 year anniversary today.

A.J. Davis graduated from Klamath County's veterans court today...

"I never had to go to any kind of court before - so I didn't know what to expect.  But veterans court has been a blessing."

The veterans court strives to provide treatment, instead of punishment...But, veterans court is not a 'get out of jail free' card. 

The vets must plead 'guilty' to their charges, and accept the terms of their treatment.

Klamath County Circuit Court Judge Marci Adkisson notes that not all violations are eligible...

"Sex offenses are one, measure 11's are another.  Pretty much after that we'll work with almost anybody if they are willing to be part of the program."

When the program began 3 years ago, organizers hoped to reduce the number of repeat offenders to 15%.

"It looks like we're on track."  Says Klamath County Treatment Court Coordinator Steve Tillson.  "So far, none of our program graduates have committed a new offense."

So far, 25 people have graduated from veterans court...and Judge Adkisson says she's pleased...

"When I drive into Klamath County, it says:  'Klamath - we honor veterans'  We really do honor veterans."

A.J. Davis showed her gratitude to the court by making a quilt...

"It's just been a great experience."

There are currently about 3 dozen vets on the veterans court docket.

Klamath County's veterans court was the first of its kind in Oregon.

Veterans courts have since been established in Lane, and Marion counties.

What do you think? Sound off on our Facebook page and on Twitter, or leave a comment below.

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.

Leave a Comment:

Note: Comments with profanity are automatically filtered and hidden. Verbal attacks towards others via our comments section will not be tolerated.