Born in Costa Rica, Deputy Margarita Cage grew up in a rough neighborhood where crime was prevalent. It was as a young child that Deputy Cage became interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement, because she knew what it felt like to live in an unsafe environment.
“As a little girl, I would see police officers coming into my neighborhood to help people, and their presence would make me feel safe,” explained Deputy Cage. “I decided I wanted to be able to provide that security for people in my community when I grew up. I was determined to have a career in law enforcement.”
At seventeen, Deputy Cage enrolled in the Beaverton Cadet Academy, and by the time she turned 21-years-old, she was a reserve officer. When Deputy Cage’s husband was hired by the Malheur County Sheriff’s Office, she found a position working in the corrections division for the Payette County Sheriff’s Office in Idaho. She held this position for two years, working until her first child was born.
“It was a struggle working in Idaho; there weren’t many females in patrol or corrections,” said Deputy Cage. “I had to prove myself each day.”
After her son was born, Deputy Cage and her family relocated to Portland where she began her position as a corrections deputy in the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. From helping with transports to directly supervising inmates to managing work crews, she has become familiar with many aspects of the jail. In recent years, the lack of mental health treatment capacity within the state has placed a significant impact on the local county jails.
“We are fortunate that the Washington County Sheriff’s Office has a mental health response team comprise of mental health clinicians and trained deputies who are able to respond to crisis calls,” said Deputy Cage. “They do a fantastic job, but there are many people in jail with mental health conditions simply because treatment centers don’t have the capacity to treat these people.”
Despite these newfound resource challenges, Deputy Cage remains committed to improving safety within the community. For Deputy Cage, it just means she works harder.
“I am very proud to be a part of law enforcement, and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office has been incredibly supportive,” explains Deputy Cage. “I want to teach my children, especially my daughter, that it’s not always easy, but you can do whatever you put your mind to.”