For sheriff, 24-7 minus 3 deputies equals gaps in patrol

EUGENE, Ore. - The sheriff's office budget funds enough deputies for 24-hour coverage.

But three retirements have left the office temporarily unable to patrol Lane County's roads around the clock.

A gap of as much as 4 hours is possible each day. The office won't say when that occurs.

So anyone who witnesses or falls victim to a crime should still call 911, said Sgt. Carrie Carver with the Lane County Sheriff's Office.

"We do want people to continue to call and report their crimes, and call 911 because we will call deputies that are on call and have them respond," she said.

The office is budgeted for 21 patrol deputies. They have 20 on staff now, including one trainee. Another patrol deputy is likely to be promoted to a sergeant position vacant after a retirement.

"We don't have the ability to double hire people," Carver said. "So once we know somebody is going to be retiring or leaving us, we generally only have a couple month's notice. But it takes so much longer than that to train somebody up."

To get back to 21 patrol deputies, that current trainee and two more will need to complete their training. It could be the fall before the office returns to 24-hour coverage.