By Frank Lockwood
HERMISTON The Umatilla County Sheriff's Department is operating on what many police forces would consider a skeleton crew. Citizens may have noticed that the number of Umatilla County police incidents reported in the Hermiston Herald have been consistently lower than those reported by other nearby police departments.
It is normal for cities to respond to more calls than counties because city populations are concentrated within a smaller area. After all, it may take an hour to get to a complaint in Ukiah, whereas it only takes minutes for a city officer to respond to an urgent call. But there is more to the story. Compared with other agencies, Umatilla is understaffed.
As Sheriff John Trumbo noted, "We don't have as many officers. We have three officers assigned to Hermiston for 24/7 coverage."
(For the full story, please see the Dec. 3, 2002, issue of the Hermiston Herald.)