BEND, OR -- Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward took to the internet Tuesday, to notify residents that he has asked for additional law enforcement assistance. "I want you to be aware that you’re going to see patrol cars from other counties patrolling the streets of Burns and Hines and the highways of Harney County. These folks aren’t here to harass the good citizens of Harney County; they’re here to help us maintain a safe and secure environment while we work through the issues at hand."
The FBI is the lead agency in charge of the situation at the wildlife refuge, but Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson says his office will help bolster local patrols. "Our office is sending two patrol deputies over to assist in enhancing Harney County Sheriff’s office patrols. They’ll be there for a four-day shift, and their mission is to keep the citizens of Harney County safe." Sheriff Nelson says he may send Corrections officers next week, if needed for courthouse security. "Of course they’ve seen an influx of people in their population; and some of the people who have come into their community could be unpredictable individuals, so we’re over there enhancing their patrols." Crook County deputies are also in Burns.
Bend Police Chief Jim Porter tells KBND News his officers would only respond to the area if requested by the Oregon State Police. "If they were to ask for assistance, the Bend Police Department, being one of the larger departments east of the Cascades and the largest metro area closest to Harney County, we would respond with the necessary staffing and equipment for immediate threat to life of officers or citizens in Harney County." But, he says they wouldn't stay over an extended period. "Ideally, we’d respond until the immediate issue was resolved. We wouldn’t be able to sustain any kind of long-term commitment to them; that wouldn’t be appropriate, in light of the situation where Bend PD tax dollars would be spent in the long-term in Harney County."