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Attack on Prineville officer spotlights budget woes


A brutal attack on a Prineville police officer by a hammer-wielding burglary suspect is putting a spotlight on a critical staffing and funding shortage, Interim Police Chief Les Stiles said Monday.

NewsChannel 21 asked Stiles why Sgt. Jimmy O’Daniel was the only officer responding to the scene early Saturday when he encountered the suspect, Trevor Trollope, and was struck at least 12 times with a hammer before a citizen on a ride-along stepped in to help subdue Trollope and wrestle the hammer away.

Stiles said department policy requires at least two officers to respond to alarm calls, but assistance to the Crook County Sheriff’s Office on another matter prevented one officer from responding with O’Daniel.

O’Daniel and that officer were the only ones on duty.

“We’re short-staffed, and it’s a critical problem,” Stiles said. “(The other officer) was there within two minutes, but two minutes is a long time.”

In that brief period, O’Daniel was a hit on the head several times, suffering a severe concussion, but fortunately no skull fractures. He was released from the hospital Saturday.

Crook County Deputy District Attorney Raun Atkinson, on a citizen ride-along with O’Daniel that morning, may have saved the sergeant’s life.

“A very good ride-along to have — he’s a Marine,” Stiles said of Atkinson. “He did the right thing, for which we are very grateful.”

The attack on O’Daniel, now off-duty for at least a couple of weeks to recover, only amplifies the budget problems the agency faces. The department used to have 21 officers — now it only has 13.

Part of the staffing reductions are from budget cuts in previous years that have never been restored. Other positions should be filled, but aren’t.

“We have a vacant captain’s spot that we can’t fill because we don’t have the money,” Stiles said. ” We have a vacant officer spot that we can’t fill because we don’t have the money.”

All together, there are three open slots, he said, “so 25 percent of our authorized strength isn’t here.”

The squeeze has, for example, eliminated the detectives unit.

“We needed them to come out from behind the desk and put on a uniform and get on the street,” Stiles said.

Although department policy requires at least two officers on duty at all times, it doesn’t always happen. Stiles said frequently, only one officer will be working.

The timing couldn’t be worse.

“The call load we’re getting in the dispatch center is going up dramatically,” Stiles said. “But I’m more worried about the types of calls we’re getting.”

He said violent crimes like assault and rape seem to be on the rise, and he’s also noticed another trend: “Almost every major crime that I’ve been involved in or seen since I’ve been here is coming from offenders who don’t live or reside in Prineville.”

The police department plans to meet with the city soon to ask for more money. Stiles said he should know within a month if they’ll get more funding for the next fiscal year.

He hopes more funding will help police keep the residents — and officers — safe.

“We have a sergeant that’s only alive by the grace of God,” Stiles said.

Stiles said O’Daniel was wearing a body camera during the attack, but did not have time to turn it on before he was assaulted.

Trollope also was taken to the Prineville hospital for evaluation, then lodged at the Crook County Jail.

A routine check for wants/warrants found that Trollope had an outstanding arrest warrant from the Oregon State Parole Board for parole violation on an original charge of second-degree robbery.

The DA’s office filed an information document with eight initial charges against Trollope Monday, including one count each of attempted aggravated murder, attempted murder, first-degree assault, assaulting a public safety officer, first-degree burglary, first-degree aggravated theft, second-degree burglary and first-degree theft.

A grand jury is expected to meet this week to consider a formal indictment, followed by an arraignment Friday afternoon.

NewsChannel 21 will continue to follow this story and have the latest.

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