The city of John Day has hired a former police officer and is attempting to contract with the Grant County Sheriff’s Office for the services of one full-time deputy while the city police department experiences a temporary staffing shortage.
City Manager Nick Green said he hired Mike Durr April 9 as a full-time police officer. Durr had left the John Day Police Department to work with the Baker City Police Department.
Durr’s departure, followed by former Sgt. Damon Rand’s, created a staffing shortage that was made worse with the recent absence of Police Chief Richard Gray.
“Chief Gray is currently on medical leave,” Green said. “His return date is not known at this time.”
Durr’s effective starting date will be May 1.
“I intend to appoint Officer Durr as the city’s interim police chief during Chief Gray’s absence,” Green said.
Green spoke with Grant County Undersheriff Zach Mobley April 3 and requested an estimate for the cost of a patrol deputy to assist with coverage in John Day based on a 40-hour week. Sheriff Glenn Palmer responded to Green’s request the same day with suggested figures.
“I want you to be aware that for us to take a certified police officer and have that deputy assist the city of John Day is causing us an expenditure in our part-time and overtime line at no expense to the city,” Palmer told Green in an April 3 letter. “This line is already over spent by $18,000 in this budget cycle.”
Palmer suggested that the city could help keep costs down by providing some equipment, in particular a ballistic vest. He noted that the deputy assigned to help John Day would also maintain evidence handling and processing, and the deputy would be assisted in doing that work by another deputy.
Palmer told the Eagle that the two deputies assigned to help John Day are Rand and Abbie Mobley. Rand maintained the evidence locker for the John Day Police Department in the past.
Green responded to Palmer April 5, stating the terms as he understood them. The pending agreement would be in effect from April 6 through June 30, unless either agency agrees to terminate it sooner, but it has not yet been approved by the Grant County Court.
The city would pay $65 per shift for a vehicle and $35 per hour, with call-out pay and other mandatory obligations, for the deputy, who will work four 10-hour shifts.
“I recognize that covering a portion of our calls for the past week has taken a toll on your department and the other law enforcement agencies in Grant County,” Green told Palmer. “I believe we will shortly be back to full staffing and appreciate your assistance up to this point.”