When police couldn’t save a woman from being raped due to budget cut

Police officer (Reuters)

Government budget cuts can have bizarre and tragic consequences. Like what happened to a woman in an American town who called the police as her ex-boyfriend tried to break into her house.

Her call on 911 first went unanswered because there were no cops on duty since most had been laid off. The call was then taken by a dispatcher who told her she did not have anybody to send out. The man eventually broke in and raped the caller.

According to a report in NPR News, this is the reality for people of rural Oregon after many counties cut public safety budgets due to loss of timber payments — the money government paid to counties with large national forests.

The bill authorising those payments has expired. And among those hit is the sheriff’s department in Josephine County which lost more than half of its funding. As a result, the sheriff has laid of 80 percent of his deputies and the remaining no longer respond to emergency calls in evenings or on weekends, like the one the woman made last August.

Here are the contents of the call:

Caller: 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 trying to break into one of the windows.

He put me in the hospital a few weeks ago, and I’ve been trying to keep him away.

Police dispatcher: I don’t have anybody to send out there.

Caller: OK.

Police dispatcher: You know, obviously, if he comes inside the residence and assaults you, can you ask him to go away, or do you know if he’s intoxicated or anything?

Caller: I’ve already asked him. I’ve already told him I was calling you.

Police dispatcher: Is he still there?

Caller: Yes, he is.

Police dispatcher: OK.

Caller: Once again, it’s unfortunate you guys don’t have any law enforcement up there.

According to police records, a few minutes later, the woman’s ex-boyfriend, Michael Bellah, used a piece of metal to pry open her front door. He then attacked her. Eventually, state police arrested him, and he pleaded guilty to sexual assault and sodomy, among other charges.

Courtesy: http://indiatoday.intoday.in

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