We’ve all seen the yellow crime scene tape bearing the warning: “Do not cross.” But residents of Grants Pass, Oregon could make the leap by partnering with law enforcement as volunteers.
Josephine County Sheriff Gil Gilbertson wants to recruit residents to assist his barebones police department (reduced by more than 50% in 2012 due to budget cuts) with property crimes such as burglaries and thefts.
A recent news story has the details. Here’s an excerpt:
The volunteers … would undergo the same training as a recruit officer at the academy level and would be led by retired and experienced law enforcement.
But there are questions about how the evidence collected by volunteers would stand up in court. Josephine County District Attorney Stephen Campbell said while Gilbertson is trying to think outside the box for solutions for the struggling department, he has to think inside the jury box.
“We always have concerns about reducing the standards under which evidence is collected,” Campbell said. But he called the program workable because of the types of crimes the volunteers would be working on.
“My vision is they’ll be on burglary scenes – looking for fingerprints, latent fingerprints, tool marks that were used to break through a door or window,” Campbell said.
Gilbertson wants to have the volunteer teams working by July. So far he has a handful of retired officers and a list of people interested in volunteering. He said this program would just be a temporary relief, and it definitely wouldn’t supplant jobs.
Did you notice that Sheriff Gil Gilbertson shares his first name with former main character Gil Grissom on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation? That is too cool!