Deputy Ryan Dews, who served as canine handler, resigns after months on administrative leave

A Columbia County Sheriff's deputy has resigned while on administrative leave from the department.

Sheriff's Lt. Brian Pixley confirmed Monday that Ryan Dews, who previously served as the Sheriff's Office's canine handler, resigned from his position on Oct. 15.

IMAGE COURTESY OF COLUMBIA COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE - Ryan Dews, shown here with a K9 he used to handle, resigned this month from the Columbia County Sheriffs Office after being on administrative leave.Dews was the subject of an Oregon State Police investigation into allegations of domestic violence that were reported by a former volunteer at the Sheriff's Office. No charges were filed in that case.

An OSP investigation outlined an incident in 2016 between Dews and his girlfriend at the time, in which he tried to block her from leaving during an argument. The report indicated Dews pushed on a door, causing the woman to fall to the ground, and put his hands on her shoulders in an effort to stop her from leaving the house during an emotional spate after the woman indicated she wanted to end their relationship.

The report was sent to the Clatsop County District Attorney's Office for review, to avoid any conflict of interest, and the district attorney declined to press charges, citing statutes that ran out from the time since the incident, and a victim who did not want to see Dews face charges.

It's unclear if the criminal investigation was related to Dews' resignation. He had been on administrative leave since April.

"We received an allegation concerning conduct that was unrelated to his employment at the Columbia County Sheriff's Office," Pixley told the Spotlight in mid-April. "As a precaution, he was placed on administrative leave and it was assigned to the Oregon State Police for follow up."

On Monday, Pixley would only confirm the deputy's resignation, noting he "is no longer an employee with CCSO."

Sheriff's officials did not respond to requests for comment on what motivated the resignation.

Dews is the second CCSO employee to resign this year, following the retirement of a sergeant and the former sheriff the same year.

In addition to the investigation, Dews was also one of three CCSO employees named in a federal lawsuit against Columbia County over a jail inmate having a dog sicced on him while in custody in 2017.

Dews handled and commanded the dog during the incident.

The county announced Tuesday that it settled with the plaintiff in that case for $251,000 (see A1).

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