Conservators of the Peace

Columbia County

Sheriff Jeff Dickerson

Columbia County Sheriff's Office

901 Port Avenue
St. Helens, OR 97051

tel: 503-366-4611
fax: 503-366-4644

About Sheriff Dickerson

Jeff Dickerson was elected Sheriff in 2008. Since that time Sheriff Dickerson has overseen a transformation of the Sheriff’s Office into a customer-service oriented organization. Employees have been empowered to make decisions at the point of service delivery and to take responsibility for their actions. Training has focused on improvement of customer service and technical/tactical skills.

New policies are in place that reflect the highest standards of professional corrections and public safety performance. Deputies know the Sheriff puts a high premium on taking the right actions, at the right time, and for the right reasons. One of his favorite mottos is “in conserving the peace and protecting the rights of all people, it is important to do what we do–not because we can, but because we should.” The Sheriff views the office of the elected Sheriff as the one most readily suited to protect all people’s rights in his jurisdiction, and he regularly promotes this concept to his front line staff.

Since his election in 2008, ongoing budget cuts and loss of personnel have left the Sheriff’s Office unable to carry out the mission of the Sheriff in the fulness of which we would like. Recent losses in general fund revenue at the county have exacerbated an already tenuous situation.

The sheriff has committed himself to fulfilling the broad range of duties constitutionally and statutorily established for his office, even in the face of deep budget cuts and staff reductions. The demands on the office and the limited resources provided have required a balancing act to make sure there are enough resources allocated to the various responsibilities to be successful.

The Sheriff is also committed to a longer-term business plan that provides for cost analysis and resource allocation over the next five years. In order to assure the resources can be stretched out over that period of time, conservation of resources in early years will yield enough to pay for services in the later years.

In order to do this, changes are neccessary in the manner in which the Sheriff responds to calls for service and in the protocol for receiving and housing arrested subjects in the jail.

Those changes include:

  • Setting the standard by which new custodies will be housed in the jail
  • Establishing a book and release policy for most misdemeanor and some felony crimes
  • Setting a maximum jail capacity of 40 – 60 beds for local uses of the jail (depending on the availability of outside support revenue from bed rentals)
  • Setting in motion a plan to conserve the use of enforcement deputies, by changing the response to 9-1-1 calls from reactive, to a review-and-respond-as-appropriate regime).

These are trying times for public safety, and local sheriff’s offices are struggling to provide all the services mandated to them by state law. We are working hard to find ways to maximize our limited resources for the good of the citizens we serve.

About the Columbia County Sheriff's Office


Winter, 2016 – For the first time in history, a Columbia County city is contracting with the Sheriff’s Office for municipal police services. We are pleased to be able to bring county resources to bear in North County for the good of the City of Clatskanie and those in North County. By contract, the City of Clatskanie is paying for 85% of the cost to assign two patrol deputies, a part-time commander and a part-time super­visor to the city and agreeing that the deputies assigned there may venture outside the city to take calls for service that are urgent in nature. An additional reserve deputy is assigned to the Clatskanie station at no cost to the city, as well as the county motor carrier deputy who is assigned to work out of the Clatskanie Station at no cost to the city. We expect the shared resources to more efficiently address public safety concerns in and around Clatskanie.

Search and Rescue was activated in the Vernonia area for a missing female in Octo­ber. With the help of Mountain Wave Search and Rescue, the missing woman was located almost 12 hours after she went missing. She was cold and wet when she was found, but was taken to a local hospital and released.

A Portland woman who went missing and was later found dead in South County sparked a month-long investigation leading to the arrest of three suspects on aggravated murder and kidnapping charges. CCSO was the lead investigating agency with the assistance of the Columbia County Major Crimes Team, Or­egon State Police Crime Lab, Portland Police Bureau, U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Apprehension Team, and law enforcement in California. Later additional suspects associated with the crimes were also indicted and arrested. The case is closely related to drug dealing in the county, and the Columbia Enforcement Nar­cotics Team has been actively addressing that part of the case as well.

Message from the OSSA President

washington-pat-garrettAs the newly elected president, I am honored to represent all 36 Oregon sheriffs.

The sheriff has historically been the chief executive officer of the county, and this is still true under Oregon law. Elected by you and answering directly to the voters, your sheriff can be an effective voice of the people in the serious work of protecting the community. OSSA enables us to work together to serve you best.

By way of introduction, I am in my second term as the Washington County Sheriff, where deputies serve over a half million residents across 727 square miles of rural areas, urban communities, and cities. Our deputies also operate the only county jail. While Oregon counties are diverse in terms of climate, population, and economic drivers, your sheriffs work together to solve problems and challenges that we have in common.

The sheriffs of America have always played a significant role in the history of our nation; in fact, the office of Sheriff was the first county office established in the United States. Also, the first person to read the Declaration of Independence publicly was Philadelphia Sheriff John Nixon in Pennsylvania in 1776.

I look forward to working together to strengthen the office of Sheriff and the communities we proudly serve. Thank you for your continued support of the men and women on shift every day to keep our diverse and proud communities safe.


Pat Garrett
President and Washington County Sheriff.

Jail vs. Prison … What’s the Difference?

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