By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Polk logs 800 calls during no-service hours

"In a few cases, we have called a supervisor out of bed, because the dispatcher told them medics were also responding to the call due to reported injuries generally involving a domestic disturbance," Wolfe said.

Most of the calls either went without a response or had to be passed on to other agencies, he said.

The sheriff's office previously handled all of its own calls, 24-7, in addition to backing up other agencies. Then crippling budget cuts struck, and so far, voters have been unwilling to pass a local levy to take up some of the slack and restore some of the services.

Now fire agencies are handling motor vehicle crashes. And they are relying on tow truck crews to clean up the scene.

"This potentially affects insurance companies, which no longer have the crash investigation done by a deputy at the scene," the sheriff said.

Wolfe said he is concerned about the ramifications the cuts are having on the remaining staff.

"It is extremely challenging to respond to high priority calls, knowing that your backup is coming from across the county," he said. "In some cases, we call upon a local municipal agency to leave the city to assist us, but then this leaves the city without its officer, because he is helping cover the county."

Local fire agencies have expressed concern and frustration when an ambulance has to wait for an officer to arrive to secure the scene, Wolfe said.

"Delays, at times lengthy, would have a significant impact on a victim," he said.

If an emergency call is received at 2 a.m., for instance, the dispatcher must contact the on-call supervisor, brief that individual on the nature of the call and get a determination on a possible response.

"If another deputy is called out, there's an additional response delay," Wolfe said.

"The on-call supervisor and deputy must both drive to the location of the call, and this could add as much as 30 minutes to the response time, according to Wolfe.

"I am very concerned about the impacts these delays have on the employees at the Willamette Valley Communication Center, who are having people ask for help, the medics who are not able to enter a residence due to potential risk to their safety, and my deputies who now must make important decisions after being woken up by phone."

Another impact beginning to show up is the decline in the number of arrests made because deputies only patrol 10 hours daily. 

"Between March 29 and Aug. 1, there was a 45 percent decrease in arrests made by my deputies," Wolfe said.



"so far, voters have been unwilling to pass a local levy to take up some of the slack and restore some of the services." The vast majority of voters and taxpayers in Polk County live within the incorporated city limits of Dallas, Salem, Independence and Monmouth.....and we already pay much higher taxes for our own municipal police services. Paying even higher taxes for Sheriff's patrols that will only benefit those that live outside the cities, doesn't make sense.

When I was looking over the Polk County budget, I was surprised to see that the three elected County Commissioners take a combined $300,000 out of the county budget in pay and benefits. I would like to see that money spent on three more full times deputies, adding another 40 hours of patrol coverage to each week. A person truly wanting to serve their community as an elected official should be willing to do so without compensation. Maybe I'm just uninformed on what actual benefits these three full time, $100,000 a year commissioners are bringing to Polk County.


Every time the Yamhill County Sheriffs Office responds to one of these calls, The citizens of Yamhill County pays for it!!! So where is the incentive for Polk Co. citizens to fund their own Sheriffs Office, when they are getting free Law Enforcement from the surrounding Counties and OSP

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