Active Shooter Training; LCSO Receives Grant for Specialized Software; Winter Music Festival; Gas Prices

Active Shooter Training

The Florence Police Department will be conducting an active shooter drill this Saturday on the campus of Siuslaw Middle school.  The exercise will begin at 8 am with a walk-through of the facility to familiarize officers with the grounds.  According to Sargent Larson they will then begin various scenarios involving an active shooter.

“We do use role players to give the officers a small example of what they may face in a real life situation.  After each scenario the situations are debriefed to discuss what well, what went wrong, how we can do it better next time.”

The area around the school will be well marked and Larson says they want the community to know of the drill so as not to worry citizens that something real might be happening.  He says the drills are designed to be as realistic as possible.

“We use situations and scenarios that we’ve read about or seen about or heard about and also while we are doing these afterwards we ask the officers, ‘hey what do you think would work better for the next scenario.’”

The training will last from 8 until 4 pm on Saturday.

LCSO Receives Grant for Specialized Software

The Lane County Sheriff’s Office was recently awarded a 3-thousand dollar grant to buy specialized software to help them detect illegal images such as child pornography.

“Computer program called Griffeye, that will allow us to sort through thousands of photos and videos much faster and much more accurately to better determine and categorize what files on somebody’s devices do contain child pornography.”

Up until now, says Detective Zach Lofoca, they’ve had to manually go through digital files and look at every single image.

“And combing through all those files by hand and documenting them is extremely tedious and time consuming and also difficult as an investigator to look at many photos of child abuse.”

Lafoca says the work of building a case like this is tough.

“It’s by far the hardest thing that I’ve had to do as a detective or a deputy, but it’s also the most rewarding to get those perpetrators.”

The group  “Operation Underground Railroad” is funding the software for two years in that group’s effort to help end child sexual exploitation.

Winter Music Festival

According to organizers of the winter music festival three day and two day passes have sold out and there are a limited number of daily passes available.  This year there are other options for people who want to watch the shows, and they can do it from the privacy of their home.  The annual music festival will be livestreaming the performances for each show and tickets can be purchased online.  Tickets are $50 and will give access to all of the ticketed shows and can be viewed within 48 hours of the actual performances.  Streaming Tickets can be purchased at  Tickets for live performances are still available.  The Winter Music Festival is January 27-29 at the Florence Events Center.

Gas Prices

Marie Dodds with AAA Oregon says gas prices in Oregon are still dipping slightly while the rest of the nation sees flat or slightly increased prices for fuel.  Oregon, in the latest report has dropped 4 cents per gallon and here in Florence the price of a gallon of regular gas is averaging $3.39.  Dodds says the effects of the recent winter storms have waned, however with some refineries along the California coast experiencing severe rain there could be some production issues in the coming days.