News and Press Releases
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.
Rainier Man Arrested For Sex Crimes After Criminal Investigation PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 05 October 2009 17:42

A Columbia County Sheriff's Office case has led to the indictment of a Rainier man on 51 counts involving sexual crimes against children.
Following a week long investigation, Michael Edward McCann, 53, Rainier, was booked into the Columbia County Jail on $1.53 million bail after a grand jury indictment for four (4) counts of Using Child in Display of Sexually Explicit Conduct, four (4) counts of Incest, five (5) counts of Rape second degree, ten (10) counts of Sodomy second degree, three (3) counts of Rape third degree, five (5) counts of Sodomy third degree and 20 counts of Sexual Abuse third degree.
The Sheriff's Office arrested McCann after a preliminary investigation showed he had been using a child in the display of sexually explicit conduct. Deputies lodged McCann in the Columbia County jail on $730,000 bail September 8, but the continued investigation produced the additional counts and the higher bail amount. The Columbia County grand jury indicted McCann on the 51 counts on September 17.
"These kinds of crimes are some of the most unsettling ones we investigate," Sheriff Jeff Dickerson said. "With our limited resources, we have to triage our response to criminal conduct in the county. Crimes against children rise to the very top of our list."
The Sheriff's office committed a week's worth of investigation into solidifying this case.  The local Oregon State Police Office also helped with some of the investigation.
Oregon Department of Human Services Children Adults and Families workers removed several children from the home after the sheriff's office requested their assistance.


Michael Edward McCann
Michael Edward McCann


Last Updated on Monday, 05 October 2009 17:47
Police Pursuit leads to Known Felon's Drug House PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 05 September 2009 22:04

A multi-agency response to an ongoing Columbia County public nuisance involving illegal drugs, guns, assaults and other criminal and civil violations has put two men and one woman in jail, and has sheriff's deputies looking for a fourth subject after a motor vehicle pursuit on Wednesday evening led to two search warrants conducted over the past two days. 

William Matthew Temple, 19, St. Helens, is in custody on unrelated charges from an incident Thursday evening in Saint Helens, but sheriff's deputies believe Temple was the driver in an incident involving an attempt to elude police Wednesday night that lead them to 35718 Hods Ln. near St. Helens. Deputies obtained consent that evening from the resident to conduct a search for the suspect, to no avail at the time, but did find firearms in the residence where at least two known felons reside. 

Temple, who had warrants for his arrest at the time of the incident, is in custody on possession of methamphetamine, felon in possession of weapons charges and on warrants for Forgery, Identification Theft and Possession of Methamphetamine out of Clark County, Washington. Pending Columbia County Sheriff's Office charges are for Attempt to Elude Police, Reckless Driving and Possession of Methamphetamine, after deputies conducted a secondary search warrant for the vehicle Temple was driving at the time. 

Charged later with Felon in Possession of a Firearm and Possession of Methamphetamine is Harley Craig VanDolah, 45, and one of the residents at the Hods Lane address. A third subject at the residence, Audrey Jean Hudson, 43, was also taken into custody on a municipal court detainer. 

All three subjects have been associated with the Hods Lane address where the vehicle involved in the initial pursuit was abandoned. Deputies have probable cause to arrest a fourth subject associated with the residence: Rodney Allen VanDolah, on similar charges. Additional charges from earlier incidents are also pending in Columbia County. 

After locating the Ford Mustang at the Hods Lane residence Wednesday night and obtaining permission to search the premises for the suspect, deputies returned later that night with a search warrant for the residence, turning up guns, items associated methamphetamine use and equipment and substances consistent with the manufacture of methamphetamine. The primary residents of the home, Harley and Rodney VanDolah are each convicted felons and are prohibited from possessing firearms. The second search warrant was served today on the vehicle used by Temple on Wednesday to evade capture. This search turned up more evidence related to the manufacture of methamphetamine.. 

This isn't the first time Sheriff's deputies or other law enforcement has been to the Hods Lane address. 

"The sheriff's office has responded to this residence on more than 50 occasions since July of 2000," Sheriff Jeff Dickerson said. "This residence has been the location of numerous police custody situations, code violation reports and clandestine drug site investigations for a number of years. 

"When the canine track Wednesday night led to this house, it wasn't a big surprise to us," he said. 

Sheriff's deputies became interested again in the residence after a deputy in a marked police vehicle began chasing a red 1990 Ford Mustang on Gable Road near Columbia Boulevard in St. Helens. The deputy attempted to stop the car for a traffic violation, but the Mustang sped off, turning on Columbia Boulevard and speeding past a school and residences. 

The deputy terminated the pursuit at that time for the sake of public safety, but followed the guidance of residents in the area until the Mustang was located, abandoned in a field at the address on Hods Lane. 

A canine officer from the St. Helens Police Department responded to the location and began a track directly to the main house on the property. Temple, the driver of the Mustang was not located, however a resident at the house gave deputies permission to look inside for the suspect. 

"Given the nature of the calls we have received at this location, overtime was authorized to keep out enough deputies to handle the situation," the sheriff said. "We also called two reserve deputies and received help from the St. Helens Police Department and Oregon State Police in the search of the premises and later with the service of the search warrant. 

"With only one deputy and a sergeant working regular hours at the time, other calls for service were put on hold as we concentrated on this ongoing community nuisance." Budget cuts have hampered the sheriff's office's ability to respond to more than one call at a time. In an effort to solve community problems with the resources they have, deputies are focusing concentrated efforts on the most pervasive problems.


Harley Vandolah  Rodney Vandolah 
Harley VanDolah (left) is in custody this evening for Felon in Possession of Firearms and
Possession of Methamphetamine. Columbia County Sheriff’s Deputies have probable cause to
arrest Rodney VanDolah (right) on similar charges after a search warrant served at their residence
following a car chase that led to their residence on Hods Lane in the St. Helens area. Also in
custody on Attempt to Elude Police, Reckless Driving, Possession of Methamphetamine and
other charges is Wililam Temple (below).

 William Temple

Last Updated on Saturday, 05 September 2009 22:14
CCSO Plans Are Ready For The Relay PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 21 August 2009 07:10
The Columbia County Sheriff's Office will employ enhanced resources to one of the summer's last major events in the county: The 28th Annual Hood to Coast Relay, August 28 and 29.
Teams of walkers, runners, volunteers and the huge influx of motor vehicles that come with them mean increased vigilance for public safety officials, and the sheriff's office is responding with additional manpower for the event.
Working with Columbia River Fire and Rescue, The Mist-Birkenfeld Rural Fire Protection District and the Oregon State Police, sheriff's office deputies, reserve deputies and Volunteers in Partnership with the Sheriff will be on duty in an effort to manage the disruption to our communities in the most efficient way.
"This is our opportunity to serve the community with extra manpower that we hope will make a huge difference for those we serve," Sheriff Jeff Dickerson said. "We will have commanders on duty throughout the event, with special traffic control available through our volunteers to help the surge of vehicles and event participants work its way safely through our communities."
Additional deputies will be assigned to the event on an overtime basis, to augment the patrols the sheriff will have to take normal calls for service
"This is our opportunity to exercise patience and understanding as this event disrupts our normal routines for a while," the sheriff said. "We will be on duty and monitoring the event to work toward a safe weekend for everyone involved, including our friends and neighbors in our communities.
"We'll be out there throughout the whole event," the sheriff said.
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