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IPFS News Link • Law Enforcers or Peace Officers

Oregon town defunded police force 40 years ago, now patrolled by community

• KATU-TV News Staff

Evans said the patrol is meant to fill in the gaps for a city without a police department for nearly 40 years.

"Not defunded by an agenda, not defunded by a movement, it was defunded by an economic crisis," said Matthew Eldridge, a Josephine county resident.

When budget cuts led to a dwindling of sheriff's deputies in 2012, law enforcement became a 9-to-5, Monday through Friday job in Cave Junction.

Criminals, however, often don't work on that schedule.

"I think people felt afraid to go out at night even, like downtown was a lawless area nobody was looking out for it. And the criminals know it," said Meadow Martell, the town's mayor.

About five years ago, that anxiety led to action by citizens, including Evans. They helped create a self-funded citizen patrol to watch over the city.

"We're more of a preventative force out there. For sure," said Evans.

CJ Patrol is all about filling the presence of police.

Members work much like a security company would-- watching over businesses, collecting data for law enforcement, and preventing break-ins.