Citizens Patrol Josephine County Neighborhoods

By Jim McCoy Wed 17th October NewsGrants Pass newspublic safety
The sheriff's department in a vast, rural corner of southwest Oregon has been racked by budget cuts and the jail can hold only the worst offenders. But people in Josephine County aren't about to approve higher taxes to increase funding for law enforcement. So some folks have taken matters into their own hands - strapping pistols to their hips to patrol their own neighborhoods. Others have put together a sort of virtual neighborhood watch, using Facebook. Josephine County Sheriff Gil Gilbertson says he's glad for the help, but warns that law enforcement is dangerous work. His concerns echo a national policing expert who says such community efforts can be positive - but become problems if volunteers turn into vigilantes.

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