The Superintendent for the OSP (Oregon State Police), Rich Evans, delivered an address recently to deputies, sheriffs, district attorneys, county commissioners as well as others at a summit for public safety. In it, Evans remarked that East Oregon faces a crisis, citing too few officers to provide adequate coverage.
Many counties rely on state agency officers to supplement them when need strikes, but Evans warned that the OSP simply doesn’t have the resources to provide that assistance. The Seattle area is supported by 140 law enforcement personnel from the WSP (Washington State Patrol) but the OSP is only able to field around 40 for the Portland area. He went on to suggest, as an estimated number, that the agency is short by at least 50 officers.
Evans continued to explain how things came to this point by laying out how state legislators have often decreased the budget for state police yearly and said that the agency has now reached an effective minimum of capability.
The good news is that the summit served as a sort of think tank for multiple agencies across the state to discuss how to deal with budget challenges.