PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office announced they are reducing patrol deputy response for some calls to service because of staffing shortages.

While the agency will still respond to emergency calls, the sheriff’s office said they are going to prioritize what they respond to.

This means lower-level criminal calls will not get a response, including noise complaints, civil disputes, alarms, welfare checks and some drug complaints.

“It came to a point we needed to do something because we were spreading our staffing too thin,” Lincoln County sheriff Curtis Landers explained.

The sheriff told KOIN 6 News they have 26 deputies and would need 29 to be fully staffed. Five of those deputies are still training for a year and one is on extended leave.

“We have retirements, we’re seeing people leaving for other agencies for whatever reason, we’ve seen several people just leave law enforcement in general. That’s started with COVID, the national attention on police matters,” Sheriff Landers said.
 
The sheriff’s office is offering $5,000 signing bonuses for lateral recruits — meaning people who already have experience in law enforcement.

Other agencies, like the Portland Police Bureau and Vancouver Police Department, are also under their authorized staffing and are trying to entice recruits with signing bonuses.

In June, Portland city commissioners approved $25,000 signing bonuses for lateral officers coming to PPB. Numbers the bureau sent KOIN 6 News on Thursday show PPB is below their authorized staffing with 518 officers.

In a statement to KOIN 6 News, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office said “like many other law enforcement agencies across the country, we are facing staffing challenges and are aggressively recruiting new people. This is a great time to start a career with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. We are looking for courageous and compassionate people to join our team.”

Vancouver Police Department said they have 236 authorized sworn positions with 211 of those positions filled. VPD is offering $10,000 for entry and $25,000 for lateral recruits.

In March, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office reduced some lower-level services due to staff shortages.

“We have reached a point where it has become critical in alleviating the strain placed on too few available deputies for the number of calls for service,” Clark County sheriff Chuck Atkins told KOIN 6 News.