Bailiff: 'I don't believe the circuit court is a safe place for the public'
ROSEBURG, Ore. -- A statewide budget cut has left courthouse security under funded, and some employees feeling a little uneasy.
A bill passed in 2013 will significantly reduce court security around the state.
Douglas County is experiencing a 63% reduction in court security funding.
State Representative Tim Freeman says the legislature was trying to shore up funding for court security.
"During the 2013 legislative session, the formula on how state court securities are funded changed," said Freeman. "The intent of the legislature was to actually allow for more funding for security for circuit courts around Oregon."
But it has done just the opposite, and some courthouse employees are feeling the effects.
"I don't believe, in my opinion, that the circuit court is a safe place for the public," said Roseburg Municipal Court Bailiff Dale Rogers. "They have inadequate security to protect the public and their employees, and I believe if the state is going to require residents of Douglas County to come serve as jurors in a state court, that they ought to be required to protect them when they're here."
According to documents sent to Freeman from Sheriff John Hanlin, the number of deputies manning the metal detectors and court security has been reduced to one, working a 6-hour shift.
In 2012, that number was as high as 3, working 8-hour shifts.
Hanlin says this is a temporary issue, and their main focus is to keep residents safe. "Even though we are suffering a hurdle in the funding stream, we will continue to do everything we can to keep the courtrooms safe," said Hanlin.
The Douglas County Sheriff's Office and state representatives say they are continuing to work with the state legislature to solve this problem.