Lane County deputies to patrol only 18 hours per day

VENETA, Ore. - On the road with Deputy Tim Ware, the veteran lawman tries his best to ignore the budget woes facing the Lane County Sheriff's Office.

"Try not to let everything that's happening change who you are and how you work," the 16-year deputy said.

Ware gets to keep his job. Only his schedule will change - one more day per week and two fewer hours per day.

"What I'm going to be doing is going to five 8s, instead of four 10s," he said.

Others are not so lucky: 32 public safety workers will be gone by July 1.

Road patrol deputies will drop from 24 to 16.

"We're still providing a 24 hour service," Sheriff Tom Turner said. "The problem is that it won't be immediately available."

State police troopers can offer some help, like on criminal car crash investigations.

Time on the road was going to drop from 20 hours daily to 18 hours. That's 2 hours per day better than earlier projections, thanks to an agreement with the deputy's union to "provide the best services to the community and at the same time, recognizing the safety impacts to the staff that continues to do the job," Sheriff's Captain Byron Trapp said.

The new normal for sheriff's patrols in the county will be a minimum 2 deputies per shift plus a supervisor, leaving deputies like Ware with less back up.

"You always think about that stuff," he said, "and your family always thinks about that stuff."

Turner said his office can't save any more money through increased efficiencies. He thinks it will take a tax levy or another revenue strategy to better fund county law enforcement.