News and Press Releases
Rainier Police Chief Slain PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 06 January 2011 10:39

A reported disturbance at a Rainier car audio shop turned deadly yesterday when the responding officer got into a struggle with a suspect, and was killed by gunshot.

Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter responded to the disturbance at 75938 Rockcrest Street in Rainier, the location for Rainier Sound Authority. Chief Painter made contact with the suspect at the store and a struggle ensued. The officer was wounded with a gunshot and later was pronounced dead.

Police agencies from Every Columbia County law enforcement agency responded, as did officers and deputies from the Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office, Longview Police Department and the Washington State Patrol.

 Columbia 911 took the initial call and helped guide the law enforcement response and media frenzy that followed.  Tactical dispatchers from Columbia 911 assisted at the scene.

 The Sheriff's Office is the Incident Command for the massive public safety response, including the subsequent investigation.  Investigators from the Oregon State Police are providing the primary assistance to the investigation through the Columbia County Major Crimes team. The lone Columbia County Sheriff's detective is assigned to the team.

Sheriff's Office to Deploy New Radar Reader Board PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 03 January 2011 17:22
Seeking to make the most of limited funding, the Columbia County Sheriff's Office is deploying a radar reader board into county areas where it has been traditionally difficult to staff with regular patrols, but where traffic problems and speeding are regular complaints.

The new radar reader board will augment the traffic radar trailer the Sheriff's Office shares with local police agencies, and comes with new capabilities to assist the Sheriff in planning traffic safety initiatives in rural county locations.

"This new equipment will be deployed in rural areas that don't see a lot of law enforcement to help keep speeds down," Sheriff Jeff Dickerson said. "The computer system it has on board, will give us detailed information about the scope of the speeding and traffic problems in a given area, and help our supervisors decide on the best use of limited enforcement personnel where the real problems are."

The on-board computer can tabulate traffic volume, number of speeding cars, daily average speeds, and weekly vehicle and speed violator counts, to name a few of the reports that can be generated.

"It is our goal to promote traffic safety county-wide, and especially in those areas that don't see as much enforcement as perhaps some others do," the sheriff said.

Citizens who believe their roadways could benefit from the radar reader board's presence are encouraged to contact the sheriff's office at (503) 366-4611 to speak to a patrol supervisor about scheduling the device in their areas.
Last Updated on Monday, 03 January 2011 17:32
Two Deputies, State Trooper honored at State Sheriffs' Association Banquet PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 09 December 2010 07:40
Two Columbia County Sheriff’s deputies and an Oregon State Police trooper were honored in Bend Wednesday, December 8 at the Oregon State Sheriffs' Association annual awards banquet.

Deputy David Peabody, Reserve Deputy Greg Brody and Trooper Justin Oxenrider were each awarded the statewide organization’s Distinguished Action Award for their bravery and quick action that saved the life of A 38-year-old farm worker who had been seriously injured in a bull attack in June.

Back on June 27,  Oxenrider was stopped by residents along Highway 30, who told him a bull was attacking a man in a field by 35510 Millard Road. Oxenrider was joined by Peabody and  Brody who all observed  Homero Cortez Ortega lying on the ground with stomach wounds and a large bull standing over him.

Oxenrider grabbed his patrol shotgun,  Peabody and Brody took their patrol rifles, discussing how to get the bull away from Ortega.

But then shortly after approaching the wire fence, Ortega began to sit up in an effort to escape. The officers yelled at him to lay back down, but it was too late. Instantly, the bull attacked Ortega again, lifting him off the ground and tossing him “like a rag doll” 10 to 15 feet in the air.
The officers opened fire on the bull, intending to get the bull to move away.

Despite hitting the farm animal with multiple bullets and buckshot, it continued to stand its ground. The officers made the decision to kill the animal and fired again, causing the animal to fall to the ground, as Brody made his way to the injured man and administered first aid,while summoning a Lifeflight helicopter. Reserve Deputy Brody is a paramedic with the Columbia River Fire and Rescue District.  He described the near complete evisceration of the victim as the worst injuries he has seen on a patient who was still alive when he arrived.

Lifeflight transported the victim to a hospital where he later recovered.  Mr. Ortega later credited the quick action of the officers with saving his life.

Sheriff Jeff Dickerson said the actions of the three officers were worthy of the state sheriffs’ association’s recognition. “I am so proud to serve the citizens of Columbia County with such dedicated individuals,” he said. “The attendees at the banquet gave these three a standing ovation. They are the pride of Columbia County.”
Deputy Receives Medal of Valor; 4 Graduate from Academy PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 23 November 2010 10:58

Columbia County Sheriff's Deputy Ryan Dews received the Oregon Peace Officers Association's (OPOA) Medal of Valor last week in a ceremony held in Newport November 19.

Deputy Dews received his medal after risking his life to save a man who was the passenger in a stolen vehicle involved in a pursuit on Scappoose-Vernonia Road July 4.

The crash occurred when the driver of the stolen car attempted to avoid a spike strip, lost control of the vehicle and left the roadway, where it burst into flames. Deputy Dews and Vernonia Police officer Shawn Carnahan reacted quickly to the burning vehicle and were able to pull Robert Regan, St. Helens, from the flames. The car quickly became engulfed, making further rescue attempts impossible, and the driver of the stolen vehicle--Brooks Anderson of St. Helens--died at the scene. Though the passenger later died from his injuries, the two officers were awarded the Medal of Valor for the risks they took to rescue him.

"Ryan will tell you he was just doing his duty the night he and Officer Carnahan risked their own personal safety to pull Mr. Regan from the flames," said Sheriff Jeff Dickerson, "but this award recognizes the effort demonstrating such a high level of devotion to duty. I join the OPOA in recognizing the exemplary efforts of both Deputy Dews and Officer Carnahan."

Also on November 19, the Sheriff's Office celebrated the graduation of its four newest members from the Oregon Public Safety Academy, when Deputies Carolyn Townsend, Ivan Johnson, Brandon Yon and Sean Moore finished their course of study. The four deputies fill vacancies in the Corrections Division and will bring relief to shifts in the jail once they complete their field training program. Deputies Yon and Moore were recognized by their class as the Class Leaders and received special recognition from the academy for that standing.

Deputy Yon was also named the top shooter for his class.

"We are so pleased with this current group of corrections deputies," the Sheriff said. "They are bright, multi-faceted and dedicated to the mission of the sheriff to conserve the peace by providing excellence in ensuring the safety and security of our jail. Once they are cleared for solo patrol on the floor, we hope to reduce the overtime and stress on our current staff."

Shooting Suspect charged with Assault PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 18 October 2010 18:35
Investigators have arrested the 25-year-old domestic partner of the shooting victim in Columbia County and charged her with Assault First Degree.  

Alisha R. VanDolah, 25, St. Helens, is in custody in the Columbia County Jail after violence erupted in the trailer she inhabits at 35710 Hods Lane near St. Helens. Daniel H. McMillen, 34 was hospitalized with gunshot wounds from a shotgun fired at close range earlier today.

Columbia 911 Dispatch notified the Sheriff's Office of the shooting at 10:04 a.m.  Responding deputies found McMillen with gunshot wounds to his shoulder, face and neck and surrounded the trailer he shares with VanDolah.

With the Assistance of the St. Helens and Oregon State Police departments, deputies took VanDolah into custody without further incident. Columbia River Fire and Rescue medics transported the victim to Emanuel Hospital in Portland, and thus far McMillen has survived the assault.

In conducting this investigation, the Sheriff's Office has received assistance from the Columbia County Major Crimes Team, including assistance from the Oregon State Police Crime Lab and an OSP reconstruction expert. Deputies later served a search warrant at the residence where the shots were fired. VanDolah had been detained for questioning following the incident and was lodged in jail on Assault I and Unlawful Use of a Weapon charges this evening.  Additional charges might be filed following review by the Columbia County District Attorney's Office.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 October 2010 08:46
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