Police heroics honored at county meeting

The May 8 Board of Josephine County Commissioners weekly business session, held at Anne G. Basker Auditorium in Grants Pass, kicked off with recognition of employees.
“We really like this time when we get to give recognition to the employees and all their hard work,” said Board Chair John West. “Thank you for all that you do.”
After Kim Older of Community Corrections was honored for her 10 years of service and Lieutenant Ed Vincent of the Sheriff’s Department was recognized for 25, Sheriff Dave Daniel came before the podium to award three of his deputies with Medals of Valor.
“This is a monumental day and it’s a very important day for all of our citizens and all of our people,” Daniel said.
Before recounting the incident that resulted in the deputies performing acts of valor, Daniel had the families of officers stand and receive a round of applause, calling them the “support group” that allows his deputies to perform their duties.
The events the sheriff recounted centered on a dangerous fugitive that was being pursued Dec. 15, 2023, “who I will not name because in my opinion he doesn’t deserve that honor.”
This fugitive “was wanted on numerous felony charges, including murder in the second degree.”
The sheriff recalled how Deputies Baird and Wolf, as well as Corporal Porter, gave chase to the subject on Redwood Hwy before attempting a “high risk stop” before the fugitive could enter a more populated area of Grants Pass.
After the subject refused to stop, Sheriff Daniel said, Corporal Porter executed “a PIT maneuver on the subject’s vehicle just before the intersection of 199 and Allen Creek Rd.”
The sheriff described the maneuver as perfectly executed, resulting in the fugitive’s vehicle losing a rear axle and rendering it disabled.
Shortly after coming to a stop, the assailant opened fire on the responding officers using an AR-15 assault rifle.
Because this subject was shooting at the officers and deputies, seven officers returned fire: Corporal Porter, Deputy Baird, Deputy Wolf, who was quick to get in on this gunfight, and an OSP Lieutenant, an OSP Sergeant, a GPPD Corporal, and a GPPD officer,” remarked Daniel. “The seven officers fired a volley of rounds into the vehicle,” resulting in the attacker’s death.

Of the responding officers, only Corporal Porter suffered minor injuries from bullet shrapnel, spending less than a day in the hospital. No civilians were harmed.

“For their bravery and heroic actions, on this day, Corporal Porter and Deputy Baird are receiving the Medal of Honor. Deputy Wolf is receiving the Medal of Valor.”

Daniel invited the officers’ spouses to hand them their medals at the ceremony’s conclusion.

Before moving on in the meeting’s agenda, West remarked, “Thank you to our law enforcement, our men and women who keep this community safe every day and risk their lives.”

Two properties were annexed into the Illinois Valley Fire District: a 5.06-acre property owned by Mona Staehr & Charles Mitchell; and an 83.73-acre property owned by Walter La Pierre & Donna LaPierre Brown.

According to Commissioner Herman Baertschiger, “These are individuals that live outside the Illinois Valley Fire District boundary and wish to be included in that district. So they will be in a kind of a satellite configuration out there and it’s their choice to be served and to pay the assessments of the Illinois Valley Fire District.”

Before voting to approve the annexations, Commissioner Dan DeYoung asked, “When these folks are annexed into the Illinois Valley Fire District, if they were to dial 911 does it automatically shift right to the I.V. Fire District headquarters there to let them know that they are a patron?”

Baertschiger answered, “I think that would be the plan. I don’t know exactly what the logistics part of that is, but that would be the idea.”

During today’s weekly business session, held at Anne G. Basker Auditorium at 9 a.m., the commissioners are expected to hold second readings for and approve county code changes that remove or update obsolete sections.