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Lincoln County Sheriff says deputies will no longer respond to most non-emergency calls

Yaquina Bay
Chris Lehman
/
KLCC
A boat cruises up Yaquina Bay near Newport. The Lincoln County Sheriff said it would no longer respond to non-emergency calls in its jurisdiction.

Sheriff’s deputies in Lincoln County will no longer respond to most non-emergency calls.

The new policy applies to a wide range of calls including most non-criminal traffic crashes, home or business alarms, civil disputes, illegal camping or noise complaints.

Lincoln County Sheriff Curtis Landers said his deputies are stretched so thin that they aren’t able to spend much time investigating more serious matters as a result of the non-emergency calls.

"I want the deputies to have the ability, when they are investigating certain crimes, (to) have more time to go into that investigation because they're not just responding to these other calls," said Landers. "I mean, 99-point-something percent of the alarm calls we go to are false alarms. But it takes a considerable amount of time to go to those alarms."

Within hours of the Sheriff's Department making the announcement on Facebook, people flooded the post with comments such as "time to buy a gun if you don't have one" and "time to carry."

Landers urged Lincoln County residents to avoid taking matters into their own hands.

“These are minor calls we’re talking about not going to," he said. "I want to assure citizens that if it’s a call involving something that a citizen would need a firearm for, we’re going to respond to it.”

Landers said the calls his deputies will no longer respond to make up about 20 percent of his agency’s current workload.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”