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FOUND AT: http://news.yahoo.com/armed-posse-patrols-timber-land-sheriffs-plac...
FOUND ON THIS DATE: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Armed posse patrols timber land in sheriff's place
By JEFF BARNARD | Associated Press – 13 hrs ago
Associated Press/Jeff Barnard - In this Oct. 12, 2012, photo, Sam Nichols, left, and Glenn Woodbury pose in front of Woodbury's pickup in O'Brien, Ore. The two men are part of a newly-formed neighborhood watch …more that does armed patrols around the rural area to deter crime since budget cutbacks have left the Josephine County Sheriff's Office with just three patrol deputies and limited jail space. (AP Photo/Jeff Barnard) less
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In this Oct. 12, 2012, photo, Rhonda …
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In this Oct. 12, 2012, photo, Hector …
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In this Oct. 12, 2012, photo, an …
O'BRIEN, Ore. (AP) — There's no room in the county jail for burglars and thieves. And the sheriff's department in a vast, rural corner of southwest Oregon has been reduced by budget cuts to three deputies on patrol eight hours a day, five days a week.
But people in this traditionally self-reliant section of timber country aren't about to raise taxes to put more officers on the road. Instead, some folks in Josephine County, larger than the state of Rhode Island, are taking matters into their own hands — mounting flashing lights on their trucks and strapping pistols to their hips to guard communities themselves. Others have put together a virtual neighborhood watch, using Facebook to share tips and information.
"I believe in standing up for myself rather than waiting for the government to do something for me," said Sam Nichols, a retired marina manager.
Nichols has organized a posse of about a dozen fed-up residents who have started patrolling the small community of O'Brien, which has about 750 residents.
"We call ourselves the CAC Patrol, Citizens Against Crime," he said.
Separately, a retired sheriff's deputy in a community about 10 miles away has started a Facebook page called "To Catch a Thief," an open group that has nearly 1,200 members who post reports of crimes that aren't priorities for the county sheriff's office.
"In a rural community like this, we all know each other, and we're all related," said Carol Dickson, who started the group about three months ago and posts regularly.
"People know who's doing this," she said of the property crimes around Cave Junction, a town of nearly 2,000 people about 30 miles from the county seat of Grants Pass.
"They are getting tired of it," Dickson said. "They are speaking up, and they are saying, 'Enough.'"
Josephine County Sheriff Gil Gilbertson says he's glad for the help but warns that law enforcement is dangerous work.
"They need to really understand there are consequences that can be very costly, physically as well as legally," he said, explaining that volunteers could get sued or shot if they pull a gun on someone or make a false arrest.
"Most of them haven't had what I feel is an adequate level of training to do that they do," he said. "But if they serve as eyes and ears and only report what they see to law enforcement, I think they can keep themselves at a safe level."
Policing expert Dennis Kenney, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, says neighborhood watch efforts can be positive but turn into problems when volunteers "decide that instead of supplementing law enforcement, they are going to replace law enforcement. Then you cross potentially into vigilantism."
Kenney said vigilantes tend to get "out of control — especially when people are armed."
He added that "people drawn to this sort of thing are the kinds of personalities more likely to take it too far."
Nichols says what his group is doing is "not vigilantism at all.
"If it was, we would have taken care of a couple of problems a long time ago," he added. "Because we knew who they were, and where they lived."
Another CAC Patrol member, Glenn Woodbury, an electrical supplies distributor, wears a .45-caliber automatic pistol in a shoulder holster when he goes out. He says he carries the weapon only for protection and that members of the patrol consider it their primary responsibility to gather information, such as a license plate number, that would allow deputies to make an arrest.
Since the patrols started a few months ago, group members have reported a wildfire being set and someone trying to break into an SUV. The police log in the Grants Pass Daily Courier shows five thefts or burglaries in O'Brien from January through July, but none since August.
"These people know they no longer own the night," Woodbury said of potential criminals.
"They can't back a pickup up to somebody's home when you've got patrols watching," he added.
For her part Dickson, who retired from the Josephine County Sherriff's Office before Gilbertson was elected and has frequently been at odds with the man who replaced her old boss, says her digital network has helped make the Illinois Valley safer.
She says her group has tracked down stolen property, including several cars, and even helped deputies arrest a man on drug charges.
Despite her differences with Gilbertson, she won't let people post rants about the sheriff's department. And she says her group serves a vital function.
"When you have tweakers and drugs, you're going to have thefts and burglaries," she said, citing methamphetamine abuse as the root of many of the property crimes in the area.
Dickson says there isn't enough space in the county jail and that deputies don't pursue property crimes as they should.
She said criminals "know they aren't going to get punished." She added, "Nobody gets arrested. Nobody gets charged."
Josephine County, population about 83,000, recently lost $12 million in federal timber county subsidies. The jail, sheriff's patrols, prosecutors, probation officers and juvenile programs have all been drastically cut. The lockup has room for 69 inmates — only enough space for the worst offenders. As a result, theft and burglary suspects are regularly turned loose, only to be picked up later for new crimes.
But neither Nichols nor Dickson think the sheriff would do a better job of protecting their end of the county with more resources.
They both voted no on a tax proposal to make up the $12 million loss and say they would do so again if county commissioners brought the issue back up.
Their independent streak is fairly common in the area just north of the California border, which was settled during the gold rush of the 1850s and has been proudly self-reliant ever since with loggers, hippie communes and survivalists maintaining the reputation. To this day residents in the area consistently vote conservative.
Much of the land is dotted with abandoned mining camps, overgrown with trees and brush. The timber county has just one remaining sawmill in operation.
At the O'Brien crossroads, a flashing yellow light and a '50s-era police car, parked permanently on the shoulder, slow what passes for traffic in front of the general store, post office, gas station, restaurant, and RV park. There also is a bar with a sign proclaiming, "Bikers Welcome."
Nichols says he decided to start the patrols after someone stole a travel trailer from his property over the summer.
He called a community meeting in August and wore a .38 special revolver, handed down from his father, in a leather holster on his belt. About 100 people showed up, one of whom recognized a photo of his trailer and knew where it had been stashed. Gilbertson, however, declined to try to retrieve it.
"I didn't have the resources to deal with it at that time," the sheriff said. "Pretty much, what we're doing now is person-to-person crime."
In response, members of the CAC Patrol have taken to slapping magnetic gold stars and flashing amber lights on their vehicles to keep watch over the community on their own. Many carry pistols and plastic ties for handcuffs.
"If we stand shoulder to shoulder, they don't have a chance," Nichols said. "And that's what we're doing."
Jeff Barnard can be reached at https://twitter.com/JeffBarnardAP .
[ Comments ]
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WalterW • 18 hrs ago
Go get the travel trailer. If the Sheriff's department department doesn't have time to deal with the theft; I wouldn't worry about them dealing with the "repossession".
Roland S 29 mins ago
Then i take it you didn't watch the last presidential debate, he promised to try and limit the purchase of guns and especially your mini 14, as an assault weapon, he sees no reason for any private citizen to own any automatic weapons, as he calls semiauto, He dosen't know the difference, to him any gun that holds more than one shell is an assault weapon, an should be banned.
mad_mike_j • 8 hrs ago
I'd rather be an armed vigilante than an unarmed victim.
Maritza 14 mins ago
Just know you're states gun laws some may be just a little different from others and remember gun safety if you are going to carry.,
Southern Rebel • 17 hrs ago
Why are they called vigilantes? When the law is not there are very scarce, the citizens have a right to protect themselves.
robjohn 13 mins ago
Dieter: I agree with your statement to AlexB. My dad always told me, and thankfully, up to this point I have never had to put this into action, "Guns are serious business. If you are going to shoot someone, make sure he is not able to answer questions. You do not shoot to wound!" He was very emphatic about these three points.
Leigh • 15 hrs ago
I guess you have to do what you have to do to stay safe in this nut case world.
brendah 33 mins ago
That must be where yours is!
gary • 13 hrs ago
Kenney from NY city. Where guns are basically outlawed and they still have violent crime, since criminals don't obey laws. I'll keep carrying with my concealed carry permit. Remember, when seconds count the police are only minutes away.
Crashcoop 2 hrs 17 mins ago
Never go to a gun fight unarmed . I can bet you lose no matter how big you think you are . Belive me . I have been shot before .
Carl • 8 hrs ago
This is nothing new go into some of the hollows of WV and you might not get out if you are not respectfull.
Roland S 25 mins ago
The people of W.V. are true Americans, and i don't think Obama's gun grab would get very far there, if anybody went into those hills and tryed to take peoples guns,i think they would get more than they bargined for.
Rich-D • 15 hrs ago
COP = Citizens On Patrol
jon 1 hr 26 mins ago
The term Copper was the original, unshortened word, popularly believed to represent the copper badges officers used to wear at the time of origin, but in fact probably used in Britain to mean "someone who cops" long before this.
This term is often the topic of folk etymology. One incorrect theory to its origin is that it is an acronym for Constable On Patrol. Another incorrect theory goes back to the French Revolution when a group of people would call out traitors to be beheaded. This group was called the Committee of Public Safety. The Committee of Public Safety would carry out justice for the best interest of the common people or so they believed. The acronym for the Committee of Public Safety is COPS, which is why some believe the term cop to come from this term from the late 1700's.
Don't Blame Me, I Vot ... • 8 hrs ago
This is what happens when the government fails us.
Good for them.
It might be happening on a lager scale soon.
David 1 hr 20 mins ago
Good I cant wait maybe the American people will get to take it back.
thinker • 17 hrs ago
It's good to see that there are at least a few people left in Oregon who are willing to do soething to help themselves instead of waiting for government to do it for them. A little street justice will do far more for curtailing crime than a dozen new deputies.
Roland S 17 mins ago
Grumpy, you sound like a level headed person, but i am sorry to see that you have decide to be a victim, because that is your choice, you can be a victim or a citizen, Citizens in this country are allowed to protect themselves, in Michigan we have the castle doctrine which says that your home is your castle and you are allowed to protect yourself and your family with lethal force if somebody is breaking into your castle
Angry • 9 hrs ago
If you want to see crime drop to an all time low, hang a criminal from the nearest tree at the city limits and leave it there. POS' will get the message in terms they understand.
David 1 hr 57 mins ago
Joe we call that swing jury lmao
ThoughtDeporting321GO • 9 hrs ago
"I believe in standing up for myself rather than waiting for the government to do something for me,"
Read it - Live it - Learn it
Waiting for next Year! • 5 hrs ago
If citizens don't stand up or are not allowed to stand up against crime you end up like mexico.
Denno • 18 hrs ago
Good for them.
george v • 16 hrs ago
its a good idea more communities should do the same thing.. the police can never be there when you need them the most it is just impossible.. after the fact yes but it is too late then as hard as they try it just can not happen. your protection at the end of the day is your responsibility or that of a good neighborhood and people willing to help keep you safe
Sunny • 14 hrs ago
It' beautiful country with friendly people. I guess they are smart too.
Chuck • 15 hrs ago
Law enforcement only respond to crime after it happened. These people are doing the right thing by protecting their own. Every American should be armed.
jimmy • 17 hrs ago
sounds like citizens taking back the country.
blankety blank blank • 16 hrs ago
Our local police do not work after 3PM, most times there are none, no weekends and very few evenings. State Police Post closed a year ago or more, but strangely enough it is extremely active as never before, most non uniformed. But, no State Police cars on the road, rarely seen as in maybe once a month to harass the locals, setting speed traps. County boys you very rarely see, not even in their home town. But there is a butt load in lockup. For such a small county we have awfully large jail population. County, State and Federal Prisoners. Some days you will see a beehive of activity involving all, but that is rare, doing seat belt law enforcement. Call for help, they "may" show up. You are on your own.
For the People • 15 hrs ago
When it comes to my Loved ones & seconds count my .45Cal Ruger is my answer! Then i will dial 911!
steve from the city • 8 hrs ago
Nice to some real Americans that have "had enough!"....I am sure family and community thankful for these patriots! I am.