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Breaking news can trump emergency services list

I find it hard to imagine that all of our valued emergency responders simply take the day off en masse every so often. How come the "Emergency Services" list is missing from our newspaper occasionally?

— Rich L., Shady Cove

We're not sure how many missing lists you've spotted recently, Rich, but we remember one was because someone got shot.

On evenings when news breaks — be it a house fire, a fatal crash or a homicide — the roundup of felony arrests and crime reports takes a back seat while editors and reporters focus on more pressing matters. 

On a "normal" day, a reporter picks up a report from Jackson County Jail staff listing all booked in the jail between 7 p.m. yesterday to 7 p.m. today. 

We only write up new felony charges — vehicle theft, grand theft, meth and heroin possession charges, among others — all crimes punishable by prison time.

Those arrested on misdemeanors, such as petty theft or their first DUII, aren't listed in the report. Same with probation or parole violation arrests on old convictions. We only publish new felony charges.

For crime reports, helpful Medford police records clerks provide us with a report of all the day's crimes that cost more than $1,000. Sometimes we find interesting stuff in that list, such as six-figure urology equipment stolen in a Jeep. Vandalism and burglary reports that cost victims less than $1,000 aren't listed.

Once in a blue moon, there isn't anything to print. That's what happened the night of Sunday, June 19, when no felony arrests were made or expensive crimes committed, leaving Monday's paper without a police log.

On evenings when breaking news prevents us from compiling the report, you can rest assured we follow up the next day.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. To see a collection of columns, go to mailtribune.com/youasked. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.