Many people do not realize that judges and staff of the Washington County Circuit Court are state employees. Even fewer know that the County Sheriff's Office, through its Court Security and Transport Unit (CSTU), works to ensure the safety, security and protection of all persons within the Washington County court system.
If you have been to court, you probably noticed that there are uniformed deputies in the building at all times. They work daily to maintain order in the courtrooms and to protect judges, their staff, jury members, and all participants in the proceedings. Often this means intercepting and removing individuals or items that could pose a threat to the peace, order, and integrity of the court.
The CSTU is also responsible for transporting defendants between the jail and the courthouse as needed for court appearances. There are 15 Washington County courtrooms (in four locations) and the county jail holds over 572 inmates at any given time. Some of these inmates are awaiting court appearances and others are serving local jail sentences. It takes tremendous coordination among court staff, CSTU staff, and regular jail staff, to transport so many defendants from the jail at the right times to the right places for their hearings. Ensuring these functions run smoothly is the responsibility of the CSTU Sergeant, Aaron Ashenfelter.
This unit is also responsible for transporting inmates to and from the Oregon State Hospital and for other medical services not offered in the jail. They also move inmates to and from other jails and detention facilities.
Next time you visit the Washington County Courthouse, take a look around for our deputies. You can relax knowing that the Court Security and Transport Unit is working hard to protect the integrity of the courts and to ensure that you have a safe visit.