One strange phenomena of small towns, is the rumors! Rumors can fly faster, spread quicker and be more unbelievable, yet believed, than you could imagine. The rumor that has been flying around our community since economic times have hit the nation, California and especially Siskiyou County: “Will Sheriff Riggins shut down our Sheriff substation?”
At the July meeting of the Community Solutions to Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse meeting, he sent a representative to say that they would not be abandoning the Happy Camp substation. The problem is that there will no doubt be cuts in personnel, including within the Sheriff Department. This will be determined after California passes a budget. If there are personnel cuts, the last hired are the first to go. there is no choice in that as by regulations, last hired go first. We have some very good deputies here, but they are young men who have just moved to Happy Camp. If they have to be laid off, staffing will have to be sent out from Yreka. This means extra travel time for a Deputy. They also work together with the California Highway Patrol and Fish and Wildlife officers in the community to be sure we have law enforcement personnel here on call when needed.
While the situation looks discouraging with the thought of losing the officers, there was talk of reviving the Neighborhood Watch program that successfully kept crime down during a short time of increase in home break-ins. Patrolling had gotten too expensive and the volunteers were mostly senior citizens. That aspect of the program was seen as less desirable than educating the public on how to be a good witnesses and on what suspicious activities to watch for and report. Community action was looked upon as the best way to supplement Sheriff’s deputies, as long as it didn’t evolve into vigilantism!