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Saturday, 29 March 2014 09:56

From the Sheriff's Desk

 Sheriff Dickerson's  commentary on issues affecting the Sheriff's Office.  For the Sheriff's archived comments from previous years, click on the associated year below.

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Homicide Investigation a Team Effort

I am extremely proud of the way the Hightower homicide investigation was carried out in our County.  This was the result of years of cooperation and relationship-building among the various agencies that contributed to the success of the Columbia County Major Crimes Team.

The major crimes team in this county is not a big team, but it consists of people who love their community and want to do their best to make our County a safe place to live, work and recreate.  They have investigated and solved a number of high profile cases in recent years, including: the Depue homicide in Vernonia; the Attempted Homicide in St. Helens (Goin case); the Heller Homicide case in the Goble area, and now this murder up near Salmonberry Reservoir.

Because we have a small cadre of investigators available to handle these crimes, we have built relationships with each of our partner agencies in this County and with outside entities that help us bring the resources we need to gather the evidence necessary to produce justice for victims of serious crimes in our County.

One of the most important resources the major crimes team employed in this current investigation is the Columbia County Jail.  Investigators relied heavily on our local jail to be able to corral those we believed were involved in the homicide and to conduct interviews that produced solid cases against three suspects.

I think back to what might have been--if we had not been able to pass an operating levy for the County Jail and that resource had not been available for this or a number of  other investigations.  In this case, we would not have had Jesse Lane in our jail--he would have been housed in Jackson County on his parole hold--and investigators would have needed to drive back and forth to interview him.  And our other two suspects would not have been in custody at all.

The ability to interview these suspects and compare statements in real time, and then go back and confront them with inconsistencies was a big part of this investigation.  Having all three in custody here, in Columbia County, made a huge difference to us solving this case so quickly--if at all.

So I'm grateful for the partnership we have with the taxpayers to provide this essential criminal justice facility.  It is costly to run a facility like this, but oh, so necessary.

Thanks also to all those agencies (local, state and federal) who are helping us bring this case to court.  There are so many who have come along side of us, but I'd like to point out one person in particular, and that is Scappoose Police Chief Norm Miller, who is the Major Crimes Team coordinator.  Chief Miller gave scores of hours to coordinating the investigative processes involved in this case.  Every team needs someone versed in all the details that need to be accomplished and can work with the District Attorney's Office to ensure we are staying on track.   Chief Miller carried out that task incredibly well, with the attitude of a servant.  The Citizens of Scappoose have a gem in him.

Finally, I'd like to thank the individual members of the Major Crimes Team, police officers from St. Helens and Scappoose who helped with this investigation, and our deputies, who, as usual, went all-in and were available to help with search warrants, arrest teams and additional investigators when needed.


It is a tremendous privilege to serve as Sheriff in a County where we are able to lean on each other in order to promote the livable communities we all so desire.

Last Updated on Friday, 14 October 2016 16:26