Behind the scenes with Josephine County Sheriff Deputy part two

, Written by Kassi Nelson, Posted: Tue, April 29 2014 at 4:42 PM, Updated: Tue, April 29 2014 at 10:26 PM

Josephine County, Ore. -- Tasked with the impossible, the Josephine County Sheriff's Department has two deputies covering an area bigger than the state of Rhode Island.

Deputy Travis Snyder has been with the department for 15 years. He said he's never seen it struggle so much. Morale is down, workload is up, and there's just not enough patrols to serve the community the way they wish they could.

When he started 15 years ago 27 deputies worked 24 hours a day seven days a week. But now because of dwindling federal timber funds the two deputies struggle to keep up.

"From Wolf Creek down to the California border, that's a lot of area to cover," Snyder said.

A lot of area to cover, and a lot of people to protect. Josephine County has 83,000 residents, forcing the department to prioritize their responses. Some are forced to wait up to two weeks for a response. Others don't get a response at all.

"We want to help everybody and answer every call, but there's not enough time in the day for all that," said Snyder.

According to Snyder, their first priority is protecting human life. Everything else falls second. And with an overhwelming amount of calls coming in Oregon State Police have stepped in to pick up some of the slack.

"I can't imagine what it would be like if OSP wasn't handling those calls," Snyder said.

The Sheriff's Department is also moving towards having volunteer crime scene investigators work smaller cases, like property crimes to free up resources. Something Snyder thinks is a good idea. 

"Anything the Sheriff's Office can do to offer service to the community the better," he said.

Snyder said when he is able to respond to calls people are thankful, even if they do make comments about the delayed response times.

"It's just the reality at this point," he said.

With a to-do list that has seemingly no end he doesn't have time to dwell on the negative.

"This job has never been what I consider easy. The people that do this job, we're here because we care," he said.

And although the deputy isn't satisfied with the level of service the department is able to provide, that won't stop him from doing his best with the resources he's given.

 

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About the Author

Kassi Nelson

NBC5 News reporter Kassi Nelson was born and raised in Nebraska. She graduated from the journalism school at University of Nebraska Lincoln where she studied broadcasting.

She also studied philosophy in the Czech Republic. Kassi has visited nine other countries including Sochi, Russia, where she reported on the preparations for the 2014 Olympic Games.

She loves skiing and live concerts!

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