LINCOLN COUNTY — Sheriff’s deputies responded to 29,503 calls for service covering 996 square miles — 9 percent fewer than in 2017 — and the three most common crimes were assault, burglary and vandalism in 2018.
Bookings at the county jail saw the same decrease of 9 percent in 2018, with 2,409 males and 852 females going through the process for a total of 3,261 individuals booked. New at the jail as of 2018 is an X-ray body scanner, which allows jail staff to view the entire contents of an individual’s body in the least invasive way possible. The goal of the technology, according to the sheriff’s office, “is to detect and deter any dangerous contraband that might be introduced into the inmate population. Items like drugs and weapons pose a serious threat to not only inmates and staff but to the individual attempting to smuggle in the contraband.”
Deputies responded to no calls of manslaughter or murder this year, according to a report on the previous year’s progress and achievements. The recently released 2018 report includes the creation of a new volunteer group, two hires for a new program and the reinstatement of an old team.
As highlighted by Sheriff Landers in his introduction to the report, 2018 was the establishing year of the Community Advisory Group — 10 volunteers who undergo a citizen training academy to serve on a group which meets monthly to discuss topics affecting the sheriff’s office and provide advisement as a voice for the community. The second-ever citizen academy is currently being held each Tuesday.
However, despite the addition of these 10 volunteers, the overall number of volunteers with the sheriff’s office is down by 12.5 percent as compared to 2017 — 48 people.
“Our volunteer numbers always fluctuate,” said Landers. “Some areas go up and some will go down. 2017 was up from 2016, but now 2018 is a little down in some areas.”
Despite the 12.5 percent drop in volunteers, the number of hours volunteers worked only dropped by 4.6 percent from 2017. The jail and animal shelter saw a decrease of 30 and 31 volunteers, respectively, while the search and rescue team gained three. No services were cut last year.
The sheriff’s staff increased by two members in 2018 — Jim Kellenberger and Jeff Hoey — both of whom were hired for the new pretrial justice program. The two specialists interview inmates, complete a risk-assessment and verify information about employment and address — all to make a recommendation for or against pretrial release during arraignments.
As recorded in the annual report, over 200 defendants were released by the courts into the pretrial program in the first couple months of the program. This aided in decreasing the number of inmates released early to make room for others.
Another big change for the sheriff’s office was the reinstatement of the Tactical Response Team, which Landers authorized due to “the number of high risk calls recently around the county, state and nation.”
The six members of this team received specialized training in tactical movement, distraction devices, hostage rescue, chemical munitions, tactical medical care and tactical decision making. They have been trained and equipped to mitigate threats to life and resolve dangerous situations which may exceed the capabilities of standard patrol deputies.
“We have had five total missions since reinstatement,” said Landers. “Four were serving warrants and one was a call out for Newport with an armed subject.”
The full report is available to read on the sheriff’s website: www.co.lincoln.or.us/sheriff.