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Klamath County approves second developmentally disabled resident abuse investigator

A photo looking across a main street at a row of businesses. In the foreground is clock on an ornate lamp-post style pole, the clock is lit up and wording above it says "Klamath Falls Observatory Time"
Wayne Hsieh
Downtown Klamath Falls

The Klamath County Office of Developmental Disability Services will get another investigator to look into reports of abuse against intellectually or developmentally disabled residents.

Klamath County commissioners approved the additional protective services investigator position on Tuesday.

The county has seen at least 200 more residents seeking help from the Office of Developmental Disability Services over the last couple of years. The office believes those increases have resulted in more reports of abuse and exploitation.

“That can range across a myriad of situations," said Director Myles Maxey. "That could be they feel like their provider or their family is taking their money, that could be physical abuse, that could be sexual abuse.”

The new investigator will help one other specialist on staff look into around 30 reports per month. At least five of those on average will turn into full-fledged, multi-week investigations, Maxey said. Those incidents range from minor disputes to criminal acts that require police involvement.

Right now, much of the work evaluating reports falls on other staff members who are often busy with their own jobs, Maxey said. Having a second investigator will decrease the need to do that.

“I think there will still be times that we may need to pull in those additional staff," Maxey said. "But it is backup. It's part of their job description, just not a primary. It's very much a secondary aspect of their job.”

Maxey said they’ll begin taking applicants immediately.

Roman Battaglia is a regional reporter for Jefferson Public Radio. After graduating from Oregon State University, Roman came to JPR as part of the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism in 2019. He then joined Delaware Public Media as a Report For America fellow before returning to the JPR newsroom.