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Police in Elgin

Pete Springer/OPB

Earlier this month Richard Lee Shafer, age 60, was shot and killed by a police officer in the eastern Oregon town of Elgin. The officer was called to Shafer’s home because of a domestic disturbance. Shafer was there, armed with a rifle. According to the Oregon State Police, “the officer fired at least one round from his handgun striking the man at least once.” According to reports, this happened in front of Shafer’s wife and his 11-year-old son. Shafer was pronounced dead at the scene.

Now, the Union County Major Crimes Team and the Oregon State Police Forensic Services Division are investigating the case, but the community is also reacting. At least a dozen people are calling for the city council to disband the small police department and to replace it with contracted services from the Union County Sheriff’s Office. Others are calling for the mayor and the police chief to resign. 

The community is meeting tonight to discuss what should happen next.

Do you live in Elgin? What experiences have you had with the police there? Do you live in a small town? How does law enforcement work where you live?


  • Kevin Lynch: Chief of police in Elgin
  • Sue Moore: Former Elgin city councilor and officer manager for Elgin TV Association
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