By Nathalie Hardy • Columnist • 

Board reverses security cutback

But when the sheriff pulled back as planned, the reverberation caught everyone off guard. Already, the commissioners have decided to reverse course on that.

For now, the funding will come from the sheriff’s contingency fund. In the meantime, the commissioners are exploring a more comprehensive response to courthouse security concerns.

Earlier this year, Presiding Circuit Judge John Collins urged commissioners to beef up courthouse security. Sheriff Jack Crabtree said the courthouse already had an extensive and expensive system in place, and he had to work within his budget.

In May, the court staff commissioned a professional security assessment to help the commissioners better assess the issues. The county is still waiting for a report, said Commissioner Allen Springer, who is serving as board liaison to the court system.

Sheriff’s Capt. Ron Huber said part of the challenge lies in a dwindling pool of reserve officers. He said that led to the decision to cut back.

However, the reduction almost immediately raised a red flag with the night court staff, and its concerns soon caught the ear of commissioners.

“It’s going to be a struggle for us,” Huber said, when advised by commissioners that they wanted night staffing back at full strength. “We have to have that discussion about where you want to go with courthouse security.”

Deputy County Administrator Chuck Vesper promised the issue would have its day very soon. “It’s charged the collective memory to re-address this issue,” he said.

In other news the board: 

n Tentatively approved a mass gathering permit to All-Terrain Events for Race the Reaper, an extreme obstacle course race being hosted by the Flying M Ranch in Yamhill. Because the proceeds are earmarked for a local nonprofit, the board agreed to reduce the fee by an amount yet to be determined.

n Authorized Emergency Management to apply for a $288,752 Homeland Security grant to cover upgrades and enhancements to the county’s microwave radio communications system.

n Approved an updated Emergency Communications Plan, one of the grant requirements.

Web Design & Web Development by LVSYS