News and Press Releases
Sheriff's Office Announces Summer Self Defense Classes for Women PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 02 July 2012 21:55

The Sheriff's Office has announced its schedule for self-defense classes for women this summer.  Each class is the same and is limited to the first 15 participants per class.  Children between the ages of 16 and 18 must be accompanied by a parent or Guardian.  We are sorry to say that we cannot accommodate children younger than 16, due to the mature content of the course.

Course dates and times are as follows:

July 14:  9 a.m to 4 p.m. (break for lunch at noon)

July 28:  9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (break for lunch at noon)

August 4: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (break for lunch at noon)

Each participant must fill out an application and waiver form which can be obtained on line under the "Your Personal Safety" section of the Sheriff's Office web site at Applications can also be picked up at the Sheriff's Office. Parents must sign the Minor Application and be present in the class in order for their minor child (age 16-18) to participate.

You must either bring the application to the Sheriff's Office or mail it to Columbia County Sheriff, 901 Port Avenue, St. Helens, OR 97051.

Mark on the application your preferences for the class dates (1st, 2nd, 3rd choices)  and submit as soon as possible.  The Sheriff's Office will advise you if your first choice is full and give you an option for second or third choice while openings still exist.

"We are excited to once again make this popular class available," said Sheriff Jeff Dickerson.  Call  the Sheriff's office at (503) 366-4611 with any questions about the class. Those interested in the class can also leave any questions on our citizen call-in line 24 hours a day at (503) 366-4698.

Last Updated on Monday, 02 July 2012 22:10
Three-County Search and Rescue Training Event Deemed "Huge Success" PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 11 June 2012 21:11

Command Vehicle Strategy Session


Team MeetingOrganizers responsible for planning and conducting a three-day, Search and Rescue training and mock search scenario are thrilled with the results.  Sheriff's Offices from Clatsop and Washington counties joined with the Search and Rescue team from host Columbia County to increase the Search and Rescue/Emergency Planning capabilities in the northwest corner of the state of Oregon. 

"This was a great opportunity for the volunteers and staffs that make up the search and rescue contingents in three counties to work together and learn from each other," said Columbia County Sheriff Jeff Dickerson. "Organizers came away from the event calling it a 'huge success.'"
A total of 70 volunteers and staff representing the three county sheriffs offices converged on a desolate hill-top in a remote area between Scappoose and Vernonia to train on Search and Rescue techniques and planning and to develop better coordination among the resources in the region.
The training included a mock search event testing the skills and logistical support of the three teams assembled for the training. The scenario involved a search for two people lost in the woods. It tested tracking skills with GPS, map and compass reading, along with evidence gathering and recovery of a victim with the use of a litter to carry the victim out.  It afforded opportunities for the teams to learn more about each other and the resources available to each other when assistance is needed beyond the capabilities of any one team.
The teams spent the three days in the remote area with a mobile command center actively engaged in the training event. Teams conducted quadrant searches using state-of-the-art mapping software, radio communications and old-fashioned map and compass.  Searches were carried out over the three-day period from Friday, June 8 through Sunday, June 10.
"This type of training and cooperation is critical to the ongoing improvement of our Search and Rescue capabilities," Sheriff Dickerson said. "I am especially grateful for the help and support we received from the Washington County Sheriff's Office during this intensive training and for the commitment of Washington County Sheriff Pat Garrett and Clatsop County Sheriff Tom Bergin to make this training as valuable and effective as it was.  I expect this experience will only increase the preparedness and cooperation of Search and Rescue and emergency planning in our region."

Last Updated on Monday, 11 June 2012 21:55
Man Drowns Rescuing Son from Cold Columbia River PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 14 April 2012 22:51

Recovery divers pulled the body of a Clatskanie man out of the Wallace Slough on the Columbia River northwest of Clatskanie today after the man had dived into the water from a fishing vessel to rescue his son who had fallen in.

Brant Hicks, 35, Clatskanie was pronounced dead at the scene after his body was recovered from the water six hours after witnesses said he dove in to rescue his 2-year-old son, who had fallen in.  Hicks was able to rescue the boy and get him back into the boat, but subsequently failed to stay above the water.  He was not wearing a personal floatation device, but the boy was.

The young child was transported to St. John Hospital showing signs of hypothermia. He was later released and reported to be okay.  The water temperature at the time was between 46 and 47 degrees farenheit.

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office responded by boat at 11:15 a.m. to the Wallace Island area on the Columbia River after receiving a call through Dispatch of a man overboard.  The caller, Larry Hurula of Clatskane, was aboard the boat from which Hicks dove in to rescue his son. Hurula is Hicks' father-in-law.  Also on the boat were Hicks' niece and nephew -- a 9-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl.

The Sheriff's office received additional help from the U.S. Coast Guard, the Oregon State Police, and the Clatskanie Police and Fire departments.  The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office dive team arrived at 4 p.m. and searched the water for approximately 90 minutes before locating the body in 16 feet of water. Hicks' body was found approximately 30 feet down river from where he had last been seen.

"Our hearts go out to this family in their loss," said Sheriff Jeff Dickerson. "We are grateful for the help of our partners, especially the Multnomah County Sheriff's dive team, for all their assistance in bringing some closure to this  tragic event."

Deputies Arrest Child Rape Suspect PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 05 April 2012 10:22
A two-month investigation culminated in the arrest of a man accused of 11 counts of sexual crimes against children yesterday afternoon at the State Department of Human Services office in St. Helens.

Paulino Garza, 50, Scappoose was also charged with resisting arrest after he scuffled with deputies as they were taking him into custody.

The arrest occurred following a Department of Human Services hearing in which the suspect was in attendance. DHS and CCSO investigators have been looking into accusations of child abuse against the suspect against his own children, culminating in the arrest yesterday.

Garza was booked into the Columbia County Jail on seven counts of Sexual Abuse First Degree, one count of Sodomy Second Degree, one count of Rape Second Degree and two counts Unlawful Sexual Penetration Second Degree, as well as one count of Resisting Arrest.

"We believe these crimes have been only against family members," said Sheriff Jeff Dickerson. "At this time, there is no indication of abuse outside of the family circle."
Sheriff's Office Releases 2011 Annual Report PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 22 February 2012 20:22

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office has released its Annual Report for 2011.  Chock full of statistics, news notes, and results documentation, the report highlights the work product of the deputies and staff who set records for output in the previous year.

"This report shows that, despite the challenges we have faced with budget reductions and position losses, we continue to build an exciting, innovative sheriff’s office, dedicated to keeping our community safe and livable," said Sheriff Jeff Dickerson.

The report is available in printed format at the Sheriff's Office.  It is also available through a downloadable  pdf file on the Columbia County Sheriff's Office website at

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