Serious crimes stretches Malheur County sheriff’s overtime budget

VALE – A wave of major crimes during the past year has stretched the Malheur County Sheriff’s Office overtime budget to the breaking point.

Undersheriff Travis Johnson briefed the Malheur County Court March 20 on the shrinking overtime budget but did not ask for more funding.

Statistics from last year don’t show a spike in serious crimes in Ontario but a half dozen high-risk incidents during the past six months forced the sheriff’s office to deploy more deputies over longer periods than in the past.

Those incidents also involved the deployment of the sheriff’s Emergency Response Team, a group of deputies trained in special operations tactics. 

Sheriff Brian Wolfe said a single high-risk crime – such as a person with a weapon barricaded in a house or apartment – typically involves up to 18 deputies . . .