News and Press Releases
Alert Deputy Nabs Car Thief PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 11 January 2013 16:34
A car theft suspect in a stolen car out of St. Helens Thursday night is now in jail after a deputy watching traffic near the Yankton School was alerted to the suspect. After determining the vehicle had been stolen, the deputy gave chase to the vehicle as the driver sped off in an effort to elude capture. The chase ended in St. Helens after the driver crashed. The suspect later told the deputy he had just gotten out of prison for car theft.
Joshua K. Hayes, 31, Portland is lodged in the Columbia County Jail on two counts of Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle, and one count each of: Attempt to Elude (vehicle); Attempt to Elude (foot); Criminal Driving While Revoked; and, Parole Violation.
At 10:27 p.m., the sheriff's deputy saw suspicious driving on the part of the suspect and began following the vehicle from Brinn Rd. and Pittsburg Rd. in the St. Helens area. Once the deputy got behind the vehicle, he noted the description and last three numbers on the license plate matched the description of the 1999 Nissan that had been previously reported as stolen out of St. Helens. The deputy began to follow the vehicle and called for assistance from the St. Helens Police.
As the deputy was following behind the suspect, the suspect accelerated rapidly. The deputy gave chase--eventually with lights and siren--headed eastbound on Pittsburg Rd just to the west of the City of St. Helens. The suspect vehicle drove down Barr Avenue from Pittsburg and entered the city, eventually crashing the stolen vehicle on Snow Street just before 10:30 p.m. The vehicle ended up in the driveway of 34763 Snow Street in West St. Helens. The suspect then fled on foot, but the deputy gave chase and captured the suspect, holding him at gunpoint until help arrived from the St. Helens Police Department. The suspect was taken into custody without further incident and lodged in the Columbia County Jail. The stolen vehicle was recovered by the deputy and turned over to the St. Helens Police Department.
Hayes' parole officer was contacted and a detainer was placed on the suspect in addition to the local criminal charges.
State Sheriffs' Association Recognizes Courageous,12-year-old Vernonia Boy PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 05 December 2012 23:06

Vernonia's Seth Cutright, the 12-year-old boy who rescued his grandmother from their burning home in October was recognized tonight by the Oregon State Sheriff's Association for his heroics and courage.

Approximately 300 attendees at the annual state sheriff's conference in Bend gave the boy a standing ovation as his story was read and he was given the sheriff's prestigious Life Saving award.

Seth and his family were in attendence, along with members of the Columbia County Sheriff's Office who were there for the annual Sheriff's conference and awards banquet. "We are proud of Seth and glad we could be here to help acknowledge his courageous act in saving his grandmother from their burning home this fall," said Sheriff Jeff Dickerson.

The boy still had a glove on his right hand to aid in the healing of burns he received while saving his grandmother's life.

The Sheriff's Office will also present Seth with its own life saving award at a later date.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 December 2012 23:23
Clatskanie Area Shooting Suspect in Custody PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 03 November 2012 13:57

A 61-year-old shooting suspect is in custody, following a 10-hour standoff with deputies and local police officers.

Oregon State Police SWAT team members took him into custody around 12:10 a.m. after a short struggle. Medics are transported him to an area hospital with unknown injuries that were not  life-threatening. CCSO deputies then escorted the suspect, Cary Woodard to the Columbia County Jail.  Woodard is facing charges of menacing and felon in possession of a firearm, among other charges.

Deputies also executed a search warrant for evidence of crimes committed by Woodard during the incident.  The warrant was executed immediately after the scene was secured and Woodard was in custody.

Deputies responded to the vicinity of 18382 Co Op Rd., west of Clatskanie, at 2:20 p.m. November 2, after receiving reports that Woodard had gone berserk during a squabble at the residence there. Woodard reportedly took a .22-caliber, bolt-action rifle and began firing it off in the house.

Residents in the home fled the area uninjured, going to a neighbor's house to call 9-1-1.

As they responded to the scene, deputies learned that Woodard had a criminal history of arrest for murder, but had been convicted of a lesser offense (manslaughter). The victims in this case also reported that Woodard would resist arrest.

The Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) was activated. Officers and deputies on the team responded and took up perimeter positions, but waited for a response from the Oregon State Police SWAT team, which had been already been previously deployed in another location.

OSP SWAT team members began arriving around 9 p.m. and are making their own assessment of the situation. The Sheriff's Office is being assisted by officers from the Clatskanie, Rainier, Columbia City, Saint Helens and Scappoose Police Departments, as well as the Oregon State Police. Two tactical dispatchers from Columbia 911 are also on scene and assisting with tactical operations.

"My thanks to the OSP SWAT team and the officers from the agencies in our county who stepped up to help us in this life-threatening situation," said Sheriff Jeff Dickerson. "Thanks also to the firefighters of the Clatskanie Fire District who stood by throughout the ordeal, and to the dispatchers of the Columbia 911 communications district who helped immensely during the standoff."

Last Updated on Saturday, 03 November 2012 21:23
Sheriff's Office Seeking leads in Hit and Run Auto/Ped crash PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 25 September 2012 15:43

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office is seeking help from the public in identifying the motor vehicle and its operator that struck a 16-year-old male  runner in the vicinity of Parkdale and Meserve roads in the Rainier area last Wednesday afternoon (09/19/2012). Previous reports indicating he was on the cross country team were incorrect.


The youth was struck from behind and was knocked unconscious for a period of time, but was able to make his way to the Rainier High School offices, where he reported the crash to his father. He was later taken to St. John Hospital in Longview with multiple bruises to his back, shoulder blade, and thigh. Deputies responded to the area upon learning of the crash but were unfruitful in their efforts to identify a suspect. The investigation showed that the crash had occurred during a detour of traffic from a commercial truck incident at Highway 30 and the Lewis and Clark Bridge.


The incident occurred between 3:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., during a time when there would have been multiple cars in the area of the school. "Running someone down from behind and leaving him there is the kind of behavior our society must not tolerate," said Sheriff Jeff Dickerson. "We are asking for anyone who might know anything about this to call our tip line at 503-366-4698 and leave a message for the investigator in this case, Deputy Bill Haas."

Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 September 2012 19:47
Sheriff's Office Uses Creativity, Outside Funding and Volunteers to Fill Budget Gaps PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 24 September 2012 19:48
Despite Budget Cuts that caused layoffs in the jail and patrol staff at the beginning of summer,  Columbia County is still receiving quality services from its Sheriff's Office, thanks to an empowered staff, increased outside funding and strong volunteer services.

"In many ways, we are getting more done with less, thanks to volunteers and creative staff members and thanks to a high level of outside funding, which is made up of grants, fees and agreements with outside entities," says Sheriff Jeff Dickerson.

This summer, because of a $700,000 budget reduction, the Sheriff's Office lost four Corrections Division positions and one Enforcement Division position. The layoffs would have been worse, except for a high level of outside revenue developed in this budget year. Additionally, a program featuring a call-triage system instituted last fall and a cadre of newly cross-trained deputies in both divisions, has absorbed the budget cuts with very little visible effect to the overall public safety mission

Added to the creative problem-solving that has led to improvement in service delivery county-wide, the Sheriff's Office has a high percentage of revenue coming in from outside resources in the form of grants, fees, and outside entity agreements totaling over $3.1 million in the current budget year.

"The revenue from outside sources is significant," says Undersheriff Andy Moyer. "With the county budget stressed to the point that only about $2.6 million is dedicated to the Sheriff's Office, the outside revenue we bring in makes up over half of the operating costs of the entire Sheriff's Office."  In the past four years, the Sheriff's Office has been buttressed by more than  the $12 million in outside resources while the county has provided roughly the same amount over that same period of time. "Without that outside funding from various sources, the Sheriff's Office mission would be severely crippled," Moyer said.

The Sheriff's Office also relies on volunteers to help fill gaps in service levels.  Volunteers serve in all three divisions of the sheriff's office, providing excellent services to the community at little extra cost to the public.  Reserve deputies help patrol in Columbia County both on the river and on the roadways. About 40 fully active Search and Rescue volunteers are available and train regularly to respond anywhere in or out of Columbia County to search for missing people or to find important evidence in a crime.  Add to that number an additional 10 volunteers who help with Sheriff's office programs, and there are well over 50 volunteers who are active members of the Sheriff's volunteer program.

"We have the highest number ever of trained and certified volunteer Search and Rescue members," says Volunteer Search and Rescue coordinator Ron Hermo.  These Search and rescue volunteers contribute thousands of hours each year to community service.

Lieutenant Dustin Hald oversees the Sheriff's Reserve Deputy program, and is currently in the background investigation stage on adding three additional reserve deputies to the four very active reserves serving in the Enforcement Division. Reserve deputies augment and expand the capabilities of the Sheriff's Office.

"Our Reserve Deputies average close to 250 hours every month -- thousands of hours per year," says Lieutenant Hald. "Our reserves are an important part of our volunteer program.  Last year, all Sheriff's office volunteers put in  6,708 total hours, and this year, they are on pace to put in well over 8,000 hours of volunteer, community service."

"Our volunteer programs are the highlight of an attitude that is growing among our staff," says Sheriff Dickerson. "And that attitude is one of a can-do nature.  We have a team here that is growing together to embrace our mission and find creative ways to solve problems in the myriad ways they present themselves in the three Divisions of the Sheriff's Office: Enforcement, Corrections and Support Services."

Part of that creativity is the call-triage system that has enabled deputies to have more time to investigate serious crimes without having any dropped calls.  In times past, deputies going from call to call would not be able to keep track of them all as they stacked up each day.  The new system allows deputies to put many non-emergency calls on hold until someone (a deputy, supervisor, or the sheriff) can get to the call for follow up at a later time. 

As a result, some calls are being handled with some delay, but every call is being answered.  A higher percentage of emergencies are getting a quicker response and a higher percentage of criminal investigations are being completed throughout the county.

"These are difficult economic times for many sheriff's offices around our state and nation," the sheriff says. "By empowering employees to be creative in their jobs, and by building bridges to volunteers and outside resources, we continue to provide the best service possible with the resources we have in Columbia County."
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