The County Scene by Susan Morgan – The Sheriff’s Office

Sheriff’s Office

The Sheriff’s office is divided into two parts: Enforcement and Corrections. Enforcement is the publicly visible part. Corrections is all about the jail.Patrol Deputies are first responders to accidents and crimes on land, rivers and lakes. Detectives and deputies investigate crimes and provide information to the District Attorney for prosecution. Emergency Management ensures that we are prepared and effectively respond to natural disasters, and rescue individuals who are lost or injured in the woods. Animal control deals with uncontrolled and neglected animals. Outreach activities like organizing Neighborhood Watches, offering the Citizens Police Academy, training volunteers, offering concealed handgun permits, inventorying and managing recovered stolen or seized property are all part of the services. Behind the scenes are a dedicated staff that keeps all of the information and systems available as needed.

The Enforcement budget covers 81.5 FTE (full time equivalent) positions and includes the Sheriff and his administrative staff (4.5 FTE). Total cost is just under $11 million this year. About 80% is payroll in this people intensive service.

Corrections runs the jail. Over 200 inmates are housed in the jail each day. A staff of 44 FTE (42 deputies and 2 clerks) runs the operations. Total operating cost is budgeted at $6.3 million this year. This is a 24/7 operation, so payroll is a major expense and uses about 70% of the operating budget. Inmates need to be clothed, fed, given medical care, etc., and these expenses account for most of the balance of the costs. Health care costs are budgeted at just over $900,000 and meals just over $370,000.

It takes more than $17 million to pay for these services each year, and the money comes from several sources. Organizations and governments that contract for patrol and jail services, and some pass-thru funding from state sources amounts to about $4 million,
covering 23% of the costs. All of the property taxes that we pay to Douglas County go to fund public safety. For FY 14-15, that’s anticipated at about $8 million, covering about 50% of the cost. The budget is balanced with road reserve funds. About $4.6 million will be taken out of the road reserve fund to fund the 26% left unfunded. Without safety net funding this budget structure can’t continue. Less than 1⁄4 of this budget is sustainable. The wisdom of continuing to use all our property tax revenue to fund public safety, while the reserves are being drawn down to minimum levels will be a central point of discussion in the upcoming budget deliberations.

Susan always welcomes your questions or comments. Please contact her by email at morgan@co.douglas.or.us; by mail at Douglas County Courthouse, Room 217, 1036 SE Douglas, Roseburg, 97470; or by phone at 440-4201.

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