News and Press Releases
Wednesday, 29 July 2009 06:27

Two children missing for approximately 2 hours on Sauvie Island were found this evening after emergency responders conducted an extensive search for them. The mother of one of the children has been charged with two counts of Child Neglect.

"This is a case of someone going to the river for recreation, but neglecting her responsibility to make sure the children with her were safe," said Sheriff Jeff Dickerson. "

Booked and released for Child Neglect is Washington County resident Diana Bedrosian, 46. Bedrosian took her child and a fellow 6-year-old friend to Collins Beach on the Columbia County side of Sauvie Island, adjacent to the "Stair Number 3" access to the beach. Investigators believe Ms. Bedrosian fell asleep on the beach, neglecting to attend to the welfare of the young children in her care, one of whom was her own child.

The boy and girl disappeared for at least two hours, but were located during the extensive search effort. Sauvie Island volunteer firefighters and a Columbia County Sheriff's Deputy delivered the children safely back to the area from which they had walked away. They were found on a gravel road adjacent to the beach, nearly a half mile away from where Ms. Bedrosian had reportedly fallen asleep as the children wandered off through the crowds on a hot afternoon.

The call came in to Columbia 911 dispatch at 6:20 p.m. The children were located at 7:37 p.m.

"Calls like this send shivers down your spine," Sheriff Dickerson said. "In those tense hours when children go missing, you press hard to find them early. I am grateful for the help we received from the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, the Coast Guard, the Sauvie Island Volunteer Fire District and the Oregon State Police. This was truly a group effort that was rewarded with success."

This case will be forwarded to the Columbia County District Attorney for charges on Ms. Bedrosian. It has also been forwarded on to the Oregon Department of Human Services for follow up.

Diana Bedrosian
Diana Bedrosian



Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 July 2009 07:06
CCSO Attends The County Fair PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 21 July 2009 10:31

Volunteers, regular staff and sworn members of the Columbia County Sheriff's Office all participated in the five days of the Columbia County Fair.


Search and Rescue (SAR) volunteers, along with Volunteers In Partnership with the Sheriff (VIPS) helped man the sheriff's booth at the fair each day.  SAR sponsored Blaze the Trail Cat's appearance during Kid's Day at the fair on Thursday July 16 (see photo). Blaze, official mascot of the Portland Trail Blazers, greeted children and helped generate interest in getting kids and their parents to complete child identification kits. Volunteers offered and completed child identification kits for parents.  Free gunlocks were also distributed at the booth.


More than 50 volunteer applications were also given out. The sheriff's office continues to accept volunteers for a wide variety of tasks to help relieve the burden on sworn deputies and clerical staff.


Marine Deputies and Undersheriff Moyer worked during the CEPA Expo on Saturday at the fair. Undersheriff Moyer and Sheriff Dickerson also spent hours in the booth greeting fairgoers. Sheriff Dickerson was also a judge for the chili cook-off on Sunday, July 19.


Deputies responded to numerous calls at the fair, including a medical call on one of the rides at the fair on Friday, July17. A 27 year-old female patient suffered cardiac arrest on one of the rides.  Deputies also responded to the fairgrounds early Sunday morning on a disturbance.  Two subjects were arrested. Earlier in the week, an arrest warrant was also served at the fair.


"Our presence at the fair is a big event for the Sheriff's Office," Sheriff Dickerson said. "As the chief conservator of the peace for all Columbia County, I believe it is vitally important that we be here and be a part of as much as we possibly can. I am very pleased with the turnout from our SAR and VIPS volunteers.  They carried a big part of the commitment to staff our booth and performed many vital functions during the week."


CCSO attends the Fair

Sheriff Jeff Dickerson greets Blaze the Trail Cat, the official mascot of the Portland Trail Blazers, during Kids Day at the Columbia County Fair July 16.  Blaze came to the Sheriff's booth at the fair to help promote child identification kits and gun safety locks designed to improve safety and security for familes.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 July 2009 10:40
Corrections Deputies Earn Academic Awards PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 21 July 2009 10:21

Two recent graduates from the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem earning top awards for academic and firearms proficiency are from the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.

Columbia County Sheriff's Corrections Deputies Tony Weaver Jr. and Jonathan Kernutt were honored as the top scoring members of their Basic Corrections Class. Kernutt finished first out of 39 students in firearms proficiency, safety and excellence in tactics.  Weaver was first out of 39 in academic performance.

The two deputies graduated from the Basic Corrections Class #241 July 17.

"I'm am extremely proud of these two deputies," said Sheriff Jeff Dickerson. "Their efforts in class exemplify the dedication and determination we value and the high standard for which everyone at the sheriff's office should aim."



Deputies Weaver and Kernutt at graduation

 Jonathan Kernutt (left) and Tony Weaver Jr. received the top marks, respectively, for Firearms Proficiency and Academic Achievement when the Basic Corrections Class #241 graduated July 17 from the Oregon Public Safety Academy.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 July 2009 10:41
CCSO Marine Patrol Still Afloat PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 04 July 2009 00:13

Zapped by budget cuts that have given a swiss-cheese appearance to his patrol schedule, Sheriff Jeff Dickerson has announced one bright spot: An enhanced marine patrol schedule that will put an extra deputy on the Columbia River during the summer months.


"We are excited to be able to access money from the Oregon State Marine Board to add a seasonal deputy on the water," the sheriff said. "Columbia County has the largest share of the Columbia River of any county in Oregon, and for the first time in many years, we will have more than just two sworn deputies out there."


Marine Board money funds 80 percent of the three deputies and the cost to put them in boats on county waterways. The sheriff is committed to building a bigger presence in the water as the summer months roll into the fall.


Waterways patrolled by the deputies will include the Multnomah Channel and the Columbia River within Columbia County.  Their focus will be on safety and the deterrence and detection of violations that threaten boating safety. There are opportunities for volunteers (both sworn reserves and non-sworn volunteers) to assist the sheriff's office with its mission on the water. Those interested in volunteering in partnership with the sheriff can call volunteer coordinator Richard Egemo at (503) 366-4615.

Last Updated on Saturday, 04 July 2009 00:16
Columbia County restores deputy positions by 50% PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 29 June 2009 17:45
In an effort to minimize the impact of a staggering budget reduction from last year, Columbia County Sheriff Jeff Dickerson and the Board of County Commissioners have agreed to an expenditure of contingency money that will restore five enforcement positions into the coming year’s budget.
“This won’t bring us up to where we were before the budget cuts,” Dickerson said, “but it definitely will give us more options and additional resources to handle our emergency calls.” The sheriff said three general law positions and 2.4 river patrol positions have been added back to the budget through county money and state Marine Board funds.
The marine board money will be used to put two deputies back on the Columbia River and will also allow the sheriff to place an additional seasonal deputy on the water as well. The seasonal deputy position will be filled July through September and May through June next year. An additional position on Sauvie Island might also be filled, if enough money can be found with state help.  Negotiations with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife should determine if that position will be filled in coming weeks.
The five enforcement deputies will augment the three deputies who were left after budget cuts threatened the layoff of 10 enforcement deputies earlier last month. After the smoke clears, half of the sheriff’s enforcement division will remain.
“We’re very pleased by the Board’s decision to bring some deputies back,” Dickerson said. “It’s a one-year reprieve on the death blow dealt to us this spring by budget cuts and a major loss of revenue from jail boarding fees. I am hoping it will be a down payment on a brighter outlook for the sheriff’s office in the future.”
The sheriff said the outlook for handling emergency calls was bolstered mightily by the Board’s decision to restore the positions.
“With only three enforcement deputies, we were not going to be able to handle all the emergencies, let alone the non-emergency calls we take daily,” he said.  “This increases the likelihood of our response to emergencies as they happen, with eight deputies now available for emergencies.”
Two of those eight will have primary patrol functions on the water, but could be called out on overtime for emergency situations anywhere in the county.  The sheriff believes that if citizens are going to support a future mechanism for bringing dedicated funding to the sheriff’s office, that the county must explore every opportunity to fund as many positions as possible with general fund dollars.
“If we’re doing everything we can to meet the peoples’ needs with their present tax dollars, then I feel comfortable asking voters if they are willing to give a little more to support law enforcement in the county,” Dickerson said. “We are not ready to ask that question now.  But this effort by the commissioners to rescue some positions with scarce contingency money gives voters a chance to see the limits of what the county believes it can do to provide law enforcement services to the roughly 50,000 citizens who call Columbia County their home. Perhaps later, once voters see how we’ve responded to this crisis, they will be ready to support further investment in the sheriff’s office.  Either way, we are committed to providing the best service possible with the resources we have.”
The restored positions are the good news for the sheriff’s office. The bad news is that four positions in the jail and five positions in enforcement still are on the chopping block.  The sheriff’s office will still be working with skeleton crews in both corrections and enforcement.
Additionally, expectations for the succeeding year’s budget are not promising. The Board of County Commissioners is expected to convene a task force soon that will look at future funding options for the sheriff’s office.
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