News and Press Releases
Monday, 30 November 2009 07:38
The suspect involved in a Columbia County Shooting incident yesterday is in custody this evening after an exhaustive investigation by the Columbia County Major Crimes Team.

Detectives assigned to the major crimes team arrested A 17-year-old boy at a rural Columbia County address in the Clatskanie area just after 6 p.m. today. The youthful suspect was transported to the Cowlitz County Youth Services Center in Longview after surrendering to authorities without incident.

"I am pleased we were able to get the suspect in custody, and am grateful for the hard work and sleepless hours dedicated to solving this part of the puzzle," said Sheriff Jeff Dickerson. "The Oregon State Police, in particular devoted a number of detectives to this effort, and additional detectives from the sheriff's office and other county police agencies assisted."

After an extensive search of the area where the shooting took place, detectives investigating a lead in the area of Kukkula and Beaver Falls roads, determined the suspect was holed up inside a residence there along with several other individuals. One of those individuals, David Coffey, 32, Kelso, Wash. was arrested on a warrant by Oregon State Police Officers at the scene (refer to OSP for additional details). The 17-year-old shooting suspect was also wanted on juvenile arrest warrants in Washington.

The juvenile suspect was charged with Attempted Murder and Assault First Degree . He was taken to the Kelso juvenile facility through the conditions of an intergovernmental agreement with the Cowlitz County Juvenile Department. There are no housing facilities for juvenile offenders in Columbia County.
Monday, 30 November 2009 07:37
The Columbia County Sheriff's Office and the Columbia County major crimes team is investigating a shooting that occurred west of Rainier last night.

William M. Temple, a 29-year-old male victim was taken by Lifeflight helicopter to OHSU Hospital following the incident. Investigators do not have a suspect at this time.

The shooting occurred prior to a call to the Columbia 911 dispatch center at 11:23 p.m. advising that shots had been heard in the vicinity of the Price Road Trailer Park. Deputies responding to the scene learned a shooting victim had been taken to St. John Hospital in Longview. The victim was subsequently flown to OHSU Hospital with apparent gunshot wounds.

"We responded to the scene and called out the Critical Incident Response Team and the Columbia County Major Crimes team to help us secure the scene and begin the investigation," Sheriff Jeff Dickerson said. "We have not at this time identified the shooter or shooters, but are tracking down leads in the investigation.

"In addition to major crimes team and CIRT, St. Helens Police, Rainier, Clatskanie, Columbia City, Scappoose, the Oregon State Police and Vernonia Police departments also responded to assist. Columbia 911 dispatched a tactical dispatcher to the command post and the Clatskanie Rural Fire Protection District responded to assist, as well," Dickerson said.
CCSO SAR Team finds missing Hiker PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 18 October 2009 13:12
A man missing since yesterday after a later afternoon walk was located this morning after spending the night in a wilderness area outside of St. Helens.
Ross Williams went on a hike with his dog in rural South Columbia County, but didn't return when he was expected last night. The Columbia County Sheriff's Office activated its search and rescue unit in the effort to find the 72-year-old St. Helens-area man.
Before he was missing, Williams was last seen in the area of Smith Rd. and Dart Creek Rd. west of St. Helens around 5 p.m., Saturday afternoon. After he missed his rendezvous time with his wife at 6 p.m., deputies responding to the area on the missing person call requested the search and rescue team call-out.
Williams was accompanied by his Weimaraner dog, a large, gray canine named, "Crystal." Both man and dog are reported to be in good condition.
The sheriff's office received the initial missing adult call at 6:53 p.m., and the Search and Rescue Team was called out at 7:17 p.m. Around 9:30 pm. a phone alert was sent to area residents advising them of the search for the missing man. At approximately 1 a.m., the search was suspended until daybreak this morning.  At daybreak the search was resumed.  A member of the Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue team located the missing person in the wilderness a little after 10 a.m. today. A U.S. Coast Guard Helicopter had just arrived to assist in the search when the sheriff's office located the man and his dog.
"I'm very pleased with the effort put forth to find Mr. Williams," Sheriff Jeff Dickerson said. "Our Search and Rescue Team consists entirely of volunteers who are dedicated and well-trained in Search and Rescue disciplines. Using their training and experience, they tracked Mr. Williams and his dog until they located him out in the sticks.
"The dedication of these men and women to their craft was exemplified by their determination to locate Mr. Williams. One searcher remained in the area overnight with a deputy, and our coordinator, who was attending training in Welches in Search and Rescue disciplines, responded to the scene this morning to join in the search."
Altogether, more than a dozen SAR Team volunteers aided in the search effort.  Columbia River Fire & Rescue personnel also aided in the mission.  A Canine tracking team from the SARCON conference in Welches was in route to help, and a local citizen on an ATV was also patroling the back roads to assist in the effort. The sheriff's office also relied heavily on the dispatching skills of the Columbia 911 dispatch center, which provided critical information and coordination service to responders in the field.
"This was a great success for our SAR team and demonstrated the coordination and collaboration possible on events such as this," Dickerson said. "I am extremely proud of all those volunteers and employees from my office who dedicated themselves to this successful mission."
Last Updated on Saturday, 24 October 2009 16:19
Pilot of Crashed Aircraft Located by Rescue Personnel PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 05 October 2009 19:07
The Columbia County Sheriff's Office, in conjunction with the Coast Guard and Columbia River Fire and Rescue personnel, this afternoon located the injured pilot of a single-seat, light aircraft that crashed northwest of Saint Helens.
Federal Aviation Administration officials notified the sheriff's office of the missing aircraft at 10:40 a.m.  The last known location of the airplane was 5 miles northwest of the Scappoose Airport.
The sheriff's office dispatched its Search and Rescue Unit and requested assistance from the U.S. Coast Guard for help in locating the aircraft.
At 1:09 p.m., a Coast Guard helicopter located the downed craft in the general vicinity of its last known location.  The Coast Guard lowered a rescue swimmer to the crash site and waited for sheriff's office and Columbia River Fire and Rescue personnel to arrive at the scene.
Lifeflight helicopter transported a single male patient from the area to Emanuel Hospital in Portland.
Sheriff's Search and Rescue and fire department personnel are continuing to search the area of the crash.  The FAA is conducting the investigation of the crash.
Sheriff's Office secures Corrections Mental Health Grant PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 05 October 2009 19:05
More than $450,000 in Recovery Act funding is headed to the Columbia County Sheriff's Office to provide mental health services to inmates for the first time.
Sheriff Jeff Dickerson says the grant is designed to provide needed mental health professional services 20 hours per week in the jail, and to add additional security for mental health patients receiving services while incarcerated in the jail. The grant is scheduled to run for two years beginning October 1.
"A sizable amount of the people brought in to our jail have at least some degree of need for mental health services," Dickerson said. "I made the case to the Justice Department that even a modest amount of mental health service could make a huge difference over what we've had -- something is better than nothing. Thankfully, help will be on its way, soon."
The grant calls for a competitive process to identify a correctional mental health provider to provide the equivalent to a half-time, professional mental health position in the jail. The grant will also fund two extra correctional deputies to focus on mental health security issues. These deputy positions will be funded through the two-year grant period.
The sheriff's office learned we had been awarded the grant last month, but the effort also required the consent of the Columbia County Board of Commissioners, which agreed to accept the grant award last week. County Chair Rita Bernhard welcomed the grant award, saying it was an opportunity for the county to provide services in the jail that have been needed for a very long time.
Now the process begins to identify the mental health services provider and to get the two new corrections deputies on board.  Sheriff Dickerson said that, although the grant period has already begun, the competitive process required by the grant, and the hiring and training process at the sheriff's office means it will be after the first of the year before the program becomes fully operational.
"We will work as hard as we can to get this up and running as quickly as possible," he said.
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