(Photo: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton)
911 calls are going unanswered following staffing shortages in several Oregon counties, according to reports.
A public safety emergency could now be declared in several parts of the state if legislation is implemented by Governor John Ktzhaber. The proposed legislation would look to help residents who are being forced to fend for themselves in emergency situations in areas where 24 hour emergency services are not being provided.
Numerous terrifying incidents have occurred as 911 calls have simply gone unanswered, leaving residents feeling abandoned.
In August 2012, a woman dialed 911 frightened that her boyfriend was about to attack her. Her calls though went unanswered, and in the end her call had to be transferred to the state police department. Even when she got through to someone the operator told her that she didn't have any units available to send to her location.
The dispatcher could be heard saying, "Uh, 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?"
A CNN report has highlighted the problem, and it has been reported that in Josephine County there is only one sheriff and three deputies to serve approximately 80,000 people.
The new legislation being proposed could prove controversial, however, as it aims to help the funding shortage to provide better services by in part raising taxes in the affected areas.
The plans were voted out recently, and some adjustments may need to be made.
"We have had a history of people being very protective of having the lowest property tax in the state of Oregon. There has to be a groundswell of people that will be able to move those folks into a minority," County Commissioner Keith Heck told CNN.
Oregon is not the only place to be affected by the problem though; Minneapolis has also had a spate of 911 calls going unanswered, according to The Star Tribune.
Here is a video news report into the Oregon 911 problems: