By Boyd C. Allen

Pilot Staff Writer

Poor attendance nearly forced Chair Becky Campbell to cancel the Local Public Safety Coordinating Council meeting due to a lack of quorum. The last minute arrival of Brookings Police representative Sgt. Kelby McCrae saved the June 14 meeting.

However, the council could not address two agenda items because sheriff’s department Capt. Mick Espinoza could not attend and present his report on the ALICE program, and Judge Jesse Margolis was in court and could not present progress on drug courts.

The ALICE Training Institute calls ALICE –– Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate –– an active shooter civilian response training used to handle an aggressive intruder or active shooter.

Espinoza said at an earlier meeting he was attempting to coordinate this training with the schools in Curry County.

Tim Wilson, who will become Gold Beach schools superintendent July 1, said, “Our new high school principal, Josh Metzger, has been trained in ALICE and the district will strongly consider that for our emergency response system.”

Wilson said some school districts in Coos County use ALICE, and he will inform Gold Beach Police Chief Tracy Wood when the schools confirm their choice.

Espinoza said he looks forward to working with local schools and police departments as the process moves forward.

Curry Community Health’s Behavioral Health Director Erin Porter said she is working with Margolis to explore the use of drug courts in the county.

The National Institute of Justice said drug courts are usually managed by a non-adversarial and multidisciplinary team. Their goal is to determine the best way to supervise and treat people with severe substance abuse issues.

Curry Homeless Coalition Director Beth Barker-Hidalgo detailed a plan to purchase and manage a resource center in Gold Beach to target the needs of the jail inmate population by providing case management and peer support specialists.

“We are targeting private providers, employment service providers and other partners to work in the resource center,” she said.

Parole and Probation Director David Denney said he had submitted a request to the Criminal Justice Commission (CJC) asking for a plan modification of a Justice Reinvestment Grant.

“This would, if approved, allow us to assist with the Resource Center project,” he said.

According to Denney, a portion of the grant was to fund a peer support specialist to help Parole and Probation clients access services and the resource center would provide the peer support component,” he said.

Currently the Justice Reinvestment Grant’s goal is to reduce recidivism in Curry County, and money from the grant helps offenders with rental assistance, according to Denney.

He said the Rental Assistance Program was developed with Columbia Care Services.

Three people are currently being aided by the program, have obtained jobs and are working to pay rent and become self-sufficient, he added.

The department has two more apartments available, according to Denney.

Oregon State Police Lt. Jeff Lewis of the Coos Bay Area Command reported officers from the Gold Beach Worksite had responded to a suicidal subject at Crissey Field State Park June 8 and encountered a man who had gone to the park to kill himself armed with a firearm.

Police reports said the man was transported to Curry General Hospital for a mental health evaluation.

Lewis said Sgt. Dave Aydelotte and his team filed an extreme risk protection order (ERPO) after the event, one of the first filed in Oregon, and succeeded in having the courts approve the order, allowing the sheriff’s department to collect the man’s firearms.

ERPOs, filed by family members or police, allow the courts to remove firearms and weapons from people determined to be a danger to themselves or others, Lewis said.

“They are a good thing as long as we are careful not to overreach,” he said.

People’s ability to purchase firearms is also put on hold under an ERPO, he added. But people subject to an ERPO can appeal after 30 days, and “if they get their firearms back, at least they had 30 days to cool off.”

Lewis praised Aydelotte and his team for handling the situation and obtaining the ERPO.

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