In Josephine County, Oregon, a disturbing result of cuts to police forces was profiled on public radio after a woman was raped by a former boyfriend — and a 911 dispatcher was unable to send units to prevent the attack.
NPR covered the situation in Josephine County, where the unidentified woman had called police to report an imminent assault after her former boyfriend came to her home to attack her.
In a call transcript, the terrified woman explains over and over that the man, a parole violator, was attempting to enter her home and rape her — and the 911 operator is unable to dispatch police to the scene of the impending attack.
The call was placed on a Saturday night last August, and, in it, the woman pleads as the man — identified as Michael Bellah — attempts to break in to her house. She says in part:
“… 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.”
While the woman was raped and that alone is horrific, it’s also very chilling to realize that she was incredibly lucky to escape with her life.
In addition to local police inability to respond, state police in Oregon — to whom the woman was transferred eventually — also refused to send units to prevent the rape and assault. Before the woman was choked and violated, a state police dispatcher responded to her pleas:
“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?”
Josephine County Sheriff Gil Gilbertson did not comment on the case — but acknowledging that each day brings new victims of the cuts, he also said in an earlier press release that victims of domestic violence should “consider relocating to an area with adequate law enforcement services.”