ThinkProgress.org grimly illustrates what happens when state and local municipalities lose revenue and have to slash vital services, like law enforcement, primarily at the expense of vulnerable populations, like women and children.
Last August, a woman in Josephine County called 911 and pleaded with dispatchers to send police—“my ex-boyfriend is trying to break into my house. I’m not letting him in but he’s like, tried to break down the door and he’s tried to break into one of the windows.” The woman had good reason to be afraid of this man, as she told the dispatcher on the other side of the phone, this same abusive ex had put her in the hospital just a few weeks before. But the dispatcher has no one to send. Because the local sheriff’s department recently lost millions in federal funds, it laid off 23 of its 29 deputies and limited their availability to eight hours on Mondays through Fridays. The woman’s call to 911 took place on a Saturday.
With no deputies available, the 911 dispatcher transferred the woman to the state police—but they would not come rescue the woman either. In the words of the state police dispatcher, “I don’t have anybody to send out there. You know, obviously, if he comes inside the residence and assaults you, can you ask him to go away? Do you know if he’s intoxicated or anything?”
The woman's ex-boyfriend later plead guilty to kidnapping, assault, and sex abuse.
Josephine County, the county where this woman lives, is overwhelmingly conservative; its voters have twice rejected property tax levies to fund more law enforcement (the most recent vote was held yesterday). ThinkProgress notes that after the first round of cuts, law enforcement sent out a press release encouraging victims of domestic violence to move, noting that they would no longer be safe in Josephine County. But what's one woman being raped by her ex-boyfriend if it saves homeowners a few bucks every year, right?