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Sheriff's Office hard at work, despite cuts

Columbia County Sheriff Jeff Dickerson is contributing a weekly informational column about Sheriff's Office and Columbia County Jail operations


Rumors and assumptions about the Sheriff’s Office are rampant these days. To listen to our critics, one would have to believe that the public officials who have committed themselves to the safety of the community we all live in would willingly manipulate the voters and hold them hostage to their up-or-down vote on the jail.

by: FILE PHOTO - DickersonLet me assure each of my fellow residents in this county that, no matter what happens with the jail levy vote, we will remain dedicated to providing the best public safety service possible with the resources committed to us.

The proof is in what our staff has continually accomplished in the last five years, despite ever-decreasing resources to get the job done.

Yes, jail beds have been cut, but jail deputies continue to work long hours and long weeks under stressful conditions. Understaffed and working with some dangerous individuals, they have been able to keep this jail open. And despite the erroneous assumptions of some, they are at least able to provide a place for arresting officers to take those who break the peace in our county — even if it usually is only for a few days.

Yes, we don’t always solve every crime. But our patrol deputies have worked very hard — even sacrificing time with their own families — responding to as many calls as possible. And even though we generally only have one regularly assigned deputy on duty at a time, they have definitely been solving crimes and making arrests.

Yes, our front office is closed on Fridays, but our front office staff uses that time either to catch up on thousands of civil papers, police reports and concealed handgun license applications, or to go to outpost locations in Clatskanie and Vernonia to take Sheriff’s Office civil services to citizens in those areas.

We continue to be buttressed by thousands of hours of volunteer service with reserve deputies and office helpers giving us a fighting chance to stay on top of a mountain of work.

I continue to be impressed and honored by the hard work of our staff. Even if we have to close the jail — and none of us want to do that — those of us who remain will redouble our efforts to conserve the peace in our county. You can count on that.