Oregon woman calls 911 before sex assault, but no cops are on duty

A woman in Josephine County Oregon called 911 last year because her violent ex-boyfriend was attempting to break into her home. But the cash-strapped sheriff’s department had laid off 23 of 29 officers, so no one was available to respond. The woman’s ex, Michael Bellah, succeeded in breaking in, then raped and choked her.

A few days ago, voters rejected a tax increase that would have paid for more law enforcement officers.

Here’s a story with photos of the perp, who was arrested and charged with kidnapping, assault and sex abuse:

Woman choked and raped by ex-boyfriend after dispatcher informs her there are no cops to help and instead tells her to ask attacker to leave, on

Here’s a story with audio of the 911 calls:

With no officers to respond to 911 calls, Josephine Co. considers tax levy, on

Oregon’s cash-strapped counties reject public safety levies, on


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This is frightening. Many police don’t want to get involved with domestic violence cases to begin with. Now, with budget cuts, responding to DV may be even less of a priority.


My heart goes out to that woman. I experienced a similar situation, and two friends I met at a dv shelter did as well. I survived; they did not. Some states have an Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) with varying levels of program participation and protection according to which entities accept the safe address as the person’s legal address.

Since my experience, I have had large, well-trained dogs who only bark when danger is near. No one should have to be told by the police or 911 dispatcher that there are no available officers. I hope that woman sues on the grounds that no help was offered. That she was told to ask him to leave is unconscionable.


I am not so sure it is a funding issue. When a person lives here as long as some people have and seen no help even years back with all those officers, it makes a person wonder. I think the reason that people don’t want to vote yes on the funding is there wasn’t reasonable help even when there was all those officers. There has been burglaries and the victim has been asked; “why can’t you go get your stuff back”, just because the victim knew the person that burglarized their home! That is not right. I have seen good and bad in this County, but they will continue to get little funding and little votes unless they start stepping up and followings the laws themselves. Why have the laws if they are not going to be enforced with officers or not. I have also heard, and write from no experience with this, that a part of the problem is the DA’s office. Police arrest and then the DA chooses not to pick up a case so the police have learned which cases are worth their time and which ones are not. For instance some burglaries, Some domestic violence, home invasions, vehicle accidents. They do seem to be on the drug calls though, and I suppose that is good. They just need a good change there maybe.


A combination of less funding and badly run cities I would imagine.

People don’t realize that in most cities, police dispatchers are not police. They are often not paid much more than minimum wage and only have to have a high school education. In small towns, they can run a town into the ground because the dispatcher is the first help and if they are a jerk, the police department is not running properly.

I live in a small town and the police dispatcher is jealous of me and has been since I moved here during high school. She actually kept giving the police officers the wrong address for me when I was dealing with a sociopath neighbor on whom she had a crush. HE, however, was obsessed with me, and terrorizing me. I kept calling the police and they wouldn’t show up which is unusual here. I finally called back one day and got the other dispatcher and the sargeant on duty came and said, “That’s weird, (insert name of low paid drudge here) lives right across the street from your neighbor and she gave me the wrong address for you.” Ah-ha moment for both of us.

I had met her only once and didn’t recognize her from high school because she is unrecognizable. I am a six foot tall woman so everyone recognizes me in this little place I should never have been. I don’t eat McDonald’s three times a day.

When he told me that, I knew that she was doing it on purpose. I called the police chief and he supposedly gave her a good talking to. It’s like Barney had to tell Opie to stop picking on a kid he knew in high school around here.

In small towns, people have their yahoo cliques, and that woman still works as a dispatcher here. I now ask for the newest police officers to come to my house if there is any need and legally, we are allowed to ask for the Sargeant on duty to come as back up if we aren’t happy with the cop we get. I’ve also done that. Asking to talk to his boss when a cop is acting like a jerk because his second cousin remembers you didn’t recognize her once at the grocery store and has held a yahoo grudge ever since, certainly changes their professional attitude. (It does pay to have an ex-husband with a Criminal Justice degree. We have all kinds of rights we don’t know about.) He has gotten many officers fired in his town for picking up prostitutes IN THEIR CARS.

Hopefully, this woman will be able to make it clear monetarily that the dispatchers and police need to do their jobs. Police officers are average. They are not hired if they have high IQs or ask questions. Just the facts, ma’am…if they decide to work instead of take a nap.

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