A look into Oregon’s 2019 legislative session


The Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association (OSSA) will be working alongside your elected county sheriff in the coming months to oppose, support and help pass legislation that positively impacts public safety within your community. From working to improve access to mental health services to increasing law enforcement resources for Search and Rescue programming, read more about a few of OSSA’s legislative priorities.

  1. School safety

In recent years, bullying and harassment have become larger issues affecting students’ emotional and physical health. According to the Oregon Health Authority, suicide is the second leading cause of death among youths aged 10 to 24 in Oregon. As student’s mental and emotional health declines, data ties this trend to an increase in acts of school violence.

OSSA is supporting a proactive approach that addresses student health and wellness, implements a statewide student threat assessment system and actively identifies and engages at-risk students through mental health, counseling or public safety programming.

  1. Mental Health

Many Oregon Sheriffs are currently engaged in collaborative efforts to address mental health through development of mental health response teams, mobile crisis response teams and mental health and addiction programming in the jails. In partnership with behavioral and mental health experts, our Sheriffs have helped connect people in crisis with the appropriate services, decreasing recidivism within the community.

In 2019, OSSA is calling for the Oregon legislature to recognize the innovative work being done and support additional community-based mental health programming.

  1. Protecting Second Amendment rights

The OSSA and Oregon Sheriffs remain strongly committed to reducing gun violence in the state. We are proud that Oregon has one of the lowest gun-related deaths per capita, but we are pursuing proactive solutions that prevent gun violence before it occurs when possible.

Gun violence results from several complex causative factors and requires a thoughtful, creative approach that addresses these factors. Oregon’s Sheriffs are sworn to uphold all rights protected by the Constitution, including those included under the Second Amendment. We remain steadfast in advocating on behalf of responsible gun ownership and the need for enforceable, effective solutions that address the contributing factors to gun violence.

  1. Search and Rescue

Every year, your elected county Sheriff’s Search and Rescue (SAR) team saves hundreds of hikers, boaters and families who become imperiled while enjoying Oregon’s wilderness. Often, SAR programs are comprised of a dedicated volunteer base, who respond to calls 24/7 to keep those in the community safe.

The OSSA and your Sheriff’s office provide the funding to support the SAR program through training, equipment and staffing. In recent years, SAR teams have seen more missions and responded to wildfires, putting a strain on office’s resources. This year, OSSA will be advocating for additional funding to help support this crucial programming and ensure all individuals are safe while recreating in your community.

  1. Resourcing

Oregon law enforcement agencies are severely understaffed, ranking 48th in the nation for officers per capita. While groundbreaking programming and the tireless dedication of our existing law enforcement officers have helped mitigate crime, Oregon sheriffs and other law enforcement agencies need resources to manage and operate correctional facilities, implement public safety programming and hire needed staff.

Working in collaboration with state leaders, the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association will propose a plan to allocate crucial resources to law enforcement entities in the coming years.

Join the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association and become involved in shaping public safety policy that will directly impact your community!

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