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The Mission of the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is, “To serve our community by providing superior public safety and service in an ethical and fiscally responsible manner, while preserving the rights of all individuals.”
Message from Sheriff Larry Blanton:
The words in this mission statement are what we live by and provide for our citizens every day. The very nature of this statement insists that we strive for excellence in serving our community in a very difficult and often times demanding profession.
Our office responds to every call for service. Period. We will provide the highest level of law enforcement service at every call. Understandably, during peak times, we must prioritize the calls and will respond more quickly when a life is in danger than when property is at risk.
“Every call for service” also means we will respond to all 911 hang up calls. Therefore, if you find that you have accidentally called 911 or you have changed your mind about needing assistance, please stay on the line and explain your situation to the 911 call taker.
We are proactive with new programs and ideas. The world we live in today is a different world from the world our parents lived in. We can’t be everywhere all the time. We count on the public to help be our eyes and ears and not be embarrassed or afraid to report suspicious activity. If you feel something looks out of place or wrong, it probably is. We have developed the following programs to help you be proactive:
• Take Care Be Aware – a 4-hour situational awareness class that refers to your ability to observe the things around you and make decisions about your actions based on your interpretation of what you observe.
• Free Personal Shredding – this event, held quarterly, gives residents a safe method of destroying personal documents to help avoid identity theft. Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America.
• Drug Disposal program - is designed to keep unwanted or unused medications away from abusers, children and animals. The program is also intended to reduce negative environmental impact to the water, soil and landfill’s by using proper disposal practices.
• Project Lifesaver – program participants are issued a personalized wristband which emits a tracking signal on an individualized assigned FM radio frequency. Once a caregiver notifies the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office a specially trained search team is dispatched and is able to track missing person suffering from Alzheimer’s, Autism, Down syndrome, developmental disorders or are high risk wanderers. This program saves lives.
• Shop with a Cop - this program provides less fortunate students with a one-on-one experience with a uniformed law enforcement officer while shopping for holiday presents for themselves and family members. In addition, this program assists children and families throughout the year with basic needs during emergencies. For the past 11 years we have shopped with more than 1,000 children and purchased gifts and everyday necessities for them and over 4,000 family members. All money used in the Shop with a Cop program comes from community donations. Since 2001, we have raised approximately $300,000 from our citizens to pay for the items.
The need for outreach programs is becoming increasingly important for a safe community. The above are an example of what services we offer to our citizens. We have selected to share these programs as they represent different approaches of outreach.
Permanent Funding. The primary source of revenue for the Sheriff’s Office is the 2006 voter-approved law enforcement tax districts.
• District One: A countywide district to provide common public safety services, such the Jail, Search and Rescue, and civil services. The maximum rate of $1.25 per $1,000 of assessed value can be assessed to taxpayers. However, the initial rate in 2007 of $.95 has not been increased and actually went down for one year to $.92.
• District Two: This district would include all areas in Deschutes County outside the cities of Bend, Redmond, Sisters, Sunriver, and Black Butte. The maximum rate of $1.55 per $1,000 of assessed value can be assessed to taxpayers. The initial rate of $1.40 has been unchanged since 2007. District two residents would also pay District One rates for common services.
We are delivering on our promise to the citizens of Deschutes County and living within our means by being responsible for every tax penny we are given for public safety service and quality of life.
While we have the opportunity to positively influence inmates and change their behavior we need to do what we can. We all have a personal experience or story of a loved one or close friend who has suffered from alcohol or substance abuse. These addictions can not only be dangerous or deadly, they are also a drain on taxpayer dollars. I believe we should do anything and everything possible to make a positive influence and help those who want help. Our Work Center and main correctional facility has programs that teach inmates parenting skills, G.E.D., job search skills and techniques and drug and alcohol treatment classes. It is my belief that when inmates transition out of the corrections system they need a “pay check and a plan” or they will continue to re-offend and be a burden on society.
Our Patrol division continues to be proactive in their efforts to keep our roads, highways and neighborhoods safe for all citizens and those who vacation in our community. Since 2009, we have decreased response time to calls in the county by 8%.
The Detective division is currently investigating several very challenging and demanding cases including narcotic issues with methamphetamine, child abuse and murder. With hard work and very dedicated professionals, we have been able to successfully close several major cases and return property to victims while holding those accountable for committing those crimes.
Search and Rescue
2011 was a very busy year for the unit. During the year, the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue drew 244 mission numbers; our average over the past 10 years has been 130 to 150 missions annually. The missions and volunteer hours for the past 4 years were:
Year Number of missions Number of volunteer hours
2008 123 15,001.0 hours
2009 150 18,578.5 hours
2010 203 29,324.5 hours
2011 244 28,879.6 hours
Livestock Rescue Ranch
In 2009 we saw a significant increase in the number of large animals being neglected and abandoned in Deschutes County. Working with Deschutes County Commissioners, the Sheriff’s Office has taken on the task of turning county owned land into a livestock rescue facility. The goal of this ranch is to take neglected, abused and abandoned livestock, improve their condition by providing care, and find desirable homes for the animals.
The Sheriff’s Office responds to all animal complaints. We conduct on-site investigations. If we find the animal is properly cared for we will inform the concerned citizen that proper care is being provided. However, if the animal is thin, emaciated, injured or without food or water, we will initiate a criminal investigation.
We have been very successful in our ability to rehabilitate seized animals. We have rescued horses, chickens, pigs, cows, donkeys, a ram and ducks, to name a few. We use male and female inmate work crews to assist with daily work at the ranch. Our efforts were recognized nationally by the Animal Legal Defense Fund during National Justice for Animals Week 2011, February 20-26 in San Francisco.
During my time in office as Sheriff, the following programs have been implemented in Deschutes County:
» Free personal document shredding to help prevent identity theft.
» A prescription medication disposal program.
» Project Lifesaver – a rapid response system to locate people who wander due to
Alzheimer’s, Autism, Down syndrome, dementia and other related disorders.
» New web site to keep citizens up to date (www.sheriff.deschutes.org)
» Expanded Citizens’ Academy (from 8 weeks to 10 weeks)
» Livestock Rescue Ranch (opened September 2009)
» Expanded citizen volunteer programs
» Inmate work crews.
» Implemented a Motivational Class for inmates.
» Implemented drug and alcohol programs for inmates.
» Expanded the hours of coverage for medical and mental health staff
» Replaced the jail’s control panel
With the continued cooperation and help from the citizens of Deschutes County, we will be able to provide the very best service. The men and women of the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office stand proud to serve each and every citizen.
I’m proud to be your Sheriff.
Deschutes County Sheriff