String of high-profile incidents puts strain on Eugene police

Captain Sherri Meisel of Eugene Police Department investigations division said the population in Eugene has increased, but resources remain the same.

Posted: Oct 8, 2018 6:59 PM
Updated: Oct 8, 2018 7:27 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Two homicide investigations last week are just the latest in a series of high-profile investigations that police said are putting a strain on the department and its resources.

Security office Frank Ledgett, 69, was shot and killed on Friday near Four Corners. Thomas Copeland, 30, of Milwaukie has been arrested and charged with his murder.

RELATED: Murder suspect was wanted in unlawful gun possession case

Ovid Neal, 56, was killed Wednesday. Officers found Neal down on the sidewalk near a parking garage in the area of Pearl Street and East 10th Alley.

READ MORE: Suspicious death in downtown Eugene now a homicide investigation

A week before those two deaths, on Sept. 25, a shooting near Monroe Middle School sent one man to the hospital and put several schools on high alert.

MORE: Teen charged in shooting near Monroe Middle School pleads not guilty

Captain Sherri Meisel of the Eugene Police Department's investigations division said the population in Eugene has increased, but resources remain the same.

She said this is problematic with recent incidents.

"When you have incidents such as we've had recently with the homicides and violent crimes, that will take a lot of the resources that we distribute on our regular day-to-day activities and have to re-direct them for those periods of time until we can get those investigations completed or underway," Meisel said.

She said there's nine violent crime detectives, and they usually rotate.

When major investigations happen, it's all hands on deck.

Because of this, the workload across the department has increased and so have the expenses.

“When we have only a limited number of resources, and of course our most important resource is our personnel and staff, when we need to stay longer or get up in the middle of the night to respond, our overtime budget is usually impacted first," Meisel said.

Meisel said it does impact them financially, but it also impacts their staff physically and emotionally.

She said because of the demand on staff, they may lose out on sleep, and their lives are affected.

Meisel said EPD wants to hear from the community on ways the department can improve.

You can weigh in via a survey by clicking here.

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