News and Press Releases
Functioning Jail Helps Accused Make Court Dates PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 17 December 2015 16:14
Ever since the jail has been able to keep inmates beyond just a few days (in fact,  inmates have not been force-released since May) The courts report that those accused of criminal violations are now far more likely to show up for their required court times.
Additionally, more inmates are being held now pending their trials. Those who are not out on bond or other court release, are now held until trial, making it easy for those who are sentenced to prison to be sent directly from jail to prison.  
"The fact that our jail remained open and was able to increase its bed availability after voters passed the levy for jail operations financing, has made all the difference in our ability to catch and hold those who break our laws and hold them accountable for the same," said Sheriff Jeff Dickerson.

Sheriff's Office Establishes K9 Unit PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 17 December 2015 15:43
Welcome to "Lars," our 20-month Belgium Malinois canine officer, who will be handled by Deputy Ryan Dews . We picked up Lars November 13, and will begin a 10-week training program with him and his handler in January. We are so excited to have this newest member of our office!
Lars originally came from Czechoslovakia. He was imported into the United States in October, 2015. Lars is a documented and titled Belgium Malinois who started his training around the age of 12 weeks. He comes to our sheriff's office with obedience, searching/tracking, officer protection, and suspect apprehension training. 

Lars was tested along with 13 other dogs with similar skills. All of the dogs were either Belgium Malinois or German Shephards between the age of 14 months and 3 1/2 years.

We looked for a well rounded dog that was both social and inquisitive with a high play drive. Belgium Malinois are generally a healthier dog than German Shephards; this was also a major factor in the selection process.

Lars tested the best out of 14 dogs tested in a two day process. Each individual test took anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours. The testing was rather intense and time consuming but it was well worth the time and effort. We feel that we selected an outstanding dog that will serve Columbia County for years to come.

We drove to California and tested dogs at two different police K9 facilities between Sacramento and Los Angeles, CA. We spent a lot of time on the road getting into hotels late during this process. We owe a huge thanks to the St. Helens Police Department and K9 Officer Jon Eggers. They allowed Officer Eggers to join us and help with the testing process. He has years of experience and has handled three police K9's over the years with St. Helens PD. 

As you can imagine the K9 program is in need of some additional funds to make this the best possible program. We need training equipment, vehicle equipment, handler equipment, specific dog care items, specific high quality dog food, specific kennel materials, etc. We also need to raise funds for a ballistic vest and K9 camera system that is actually worn by the K9 while he is out working.

We currently have a non profit 501c3 account set up for donations to the K9 program. We are in the process of starting a social media campaign giving people the ability to "sponsor" Lars as he gets closer and closer to working in our communities. Any monetary donations can be made in person at the sheriff's office or by mail at 901 Port Avenue, St. Helens, OR. Any donations need to be clearly marked as "sheriff's k9 program", receipts for all donations are available.

" Lars will be the only tracking K9 currently working in Columbia County and cities within," said Lt. Dustin Hald. "We have been using Portland PB, Hillsboro PD, Beaverton PD, Washington County Sheriff's Office, Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office  (WA), and Longview PD (WA). When these agencies were called in to assist it would take anywhere between 1 and 2 hours for a response. Having Lars out on patrol is going to make Columbia County a safer place to live, work, and visit."
Rainier Area Shooting Suspect in Custody PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 12 November 2015 15:01

The Sheriff’s Office responded today at 11:06 a.m. to a shooting incident in the Rainier area stemming from a dispute that occurred at 33445 Jaquish Rd.  between a 20-year-old resident and a renter on his family’s property at that location.

The renter, David Sorrell, 28, Rainier, obtained a 12-guage shotgun  from the family home and fired shots at Brandon J. McKay after the dispute between the two began. McKay lives in the main residence with his family. Sorrell and his wife rent a room from the family in a building adjacent to the residence.

Investigators believe a total of four rounds were fired during the dispute—one of the rounds striking a vehicle on the property and shattering the driver side windows.  Investigators believe three rounds were fired at McKay, who was struck once and sustained non-life threatening injury.

Following the shooting, Sorrell left the scene in a grey, Honda Civic 4-door with Washington Plates.  An Oregon State Police sergeant in the area looking for the vehicle located it driving westbound on Highway 30 at 11:29 a.m.  The OSP Officer and a Cowlitz County Sheriff’s deputy made the high-risk stop on the suspect vehicle and made the arrest. The highway on the westbound side was closed while  law enforcement took Sorrell into custody.

Sorrell is lodged in the Columbia County Jail on charges of Attempted Murder and Assault, Second Degree.   The Sheriff’s Office is continuing the investigation, and had the assistance of the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office, the St. Helens Police, Rainier Police, Scappoose Police and the Oregon State Police in responding to this incident.

St. Helens Man Arrested on Multiple Sexual Abuse Charges PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 02 November 2015 14:30
Acting on a tip from an out-of-state source, Columbia County Sheriff's deputies have arrested a St. Helens man on multiple Sexual Abuse charges.

Mark Habel,46, St. Helens is lodged in the Columbia County Jail on 18 counts of First Degree Sexual Abuse, 14 counts of Unlawful Sexual Penetration in the Second Degree, and 1 count of Contempt of Court. His total bail is set at $1,760,000 with 10% acceptable.

The charges stem from an investigation detailing the ongoing abuse of a single victim, who was under 18 at the time.
Sheriff's Office to Host National Night Out Event PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 31 July 2015 15:30

Sheriff Dickerson and staff will once again be hosting a family-friendly community event in conjunction with the National Night Out ( event on Tuesday, August 4 at 7:30 p.m.

We will host the event in front of the sheriff's office (901 Port Ave., St. Helens) in the grass and we will have some equipment on display for families to look at (incident command vehicle, boat, patrol car)

We will also be showing a kid-friendly movie starting at 8:30 PM. The movie will be played outdoors on a portable screen in the front grassy area of the Sheriff's Office.

Fresh Start Espresso has agreed to provide Italian Sodas for attendees

Some of our reserve deputies will also be present during the event. HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!

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