The recent shootings in Clackamas and Connecticut are on everyone's mind. We normally receive 12 applications for new concealed handgun licenses per day; on Monday we received 45, plus stacks of renewals for permits that have been inactive for months.
We are also receiving questions about school safety and how citizens should react in a shooter situation. It is clear that many feel a loss of security and control. One way to cope is to take action to control variables within your reach. Several ideas are offered in this issue, but I would like to ask you personally to take one action now.
Review gun safety in your home. In the two recent shootings, guns were not secured in homes. The shooter in Oregon used a semi-automatic AR-15 that he stole from a home where he spent the night. The shooter from Conecticut took a semi-automatic AR-15, a Glock 10mm, and a Sig Sauer 9mm from his mother. In March another tragedy occurred when a young boy found his father's handgun hidden under the driver's seat. Even people who are known to be careful should revisit habits that may have relaxed over time.
Ensure you have gunlocks for every gun you own or control. Every gun purchased from a licensed gun dealer must be sold with a lock. Trigger locks are model specific, whereas cable locks work on handguns or long guns. The locks not only secure the weapon from children, but they cannot be operated unless unlocked by key. At $3-5, they make great stocking stuffers! Gun safes or locking racks also make thoughtful gifts.
My staff and I wish you the joy of time spent with loved ones and a heart filled with peace. Our thoughts continue to be with all the families and loved ones affected by the recent tragedies.
We hosted a 10-week Basic Patrol Dogmaster class this fall for canine teams from Sherwood Police and the Clatsop and Washington County Sheriff's offices. Our Corporal Kevin Figueroa, a recognized Oregon Police Canine Association trainer and instructor, led the class.
Congratulations to Deputy Micah Akin and K9 Stark and Deputy Dan DiPietro and Maverick on gaining certification.
Deputy Akin joined the Sheriff's Office in 2005 and is our newest K-9 handler. His partner, Stark, is an 18-month-old male Belgian Malinois/Shepherd.
Stark's temperment and drive will make him a likely candidate for narcotic detection work in the near future.
Deputy DiPietro started with the Sheriff's Office in 2006 and joined the K9 Unit in 2010. His partner, Maverick, is a four-year-old purebred male German Shepherd that was already an experienced narcotics detection dog. He is now dually certified.
The county has removed the dedicated travel lane from NW Bronson Road eastbound where cars turn south onto NW Bethany Boulevard. The separator island has been removed and all traffic on NW Bronson must now come to a complete stop before turning. Unfortunately, drivers are not stopping and other motorists are asking deputies to take action.
In just a few hours this week, deputies conducted 12 traffic stops to educate motorists and encourage a change in habits without citations. We hope education will make the difference.
A citation for this offense will be $520 (the base fine of $260 must be doubled in a construction zone). That is an expensive citation, and your money could be spent in better ways.
Please give us your voluntary cooperation and share the message with your neighbors and others who drive this area frequently.
Career Criminal in Stolen Truck Crashes Twice During Pursuit in Beaverton
On December 8, the driver of a stolen vehicle failed to pull over for a traffic stop on Canyon Road. He led the deputy on a chase where he initially crashed at the intersection with SW 110th into a vehicle with a mother and infant inside. Failing to stop, he continued west on Canyon to Highway 217 exceeding 70 mph. As he merged onto the highway, he drove over a concrete median and crashed into another vehicle with a father, mother, and young girl inside. The driver bailed from the vehicle and ran. The deputy chased the driver down on foot and took him to jail - which is a familiar place to him. He has been booked into the Washington County Jail 23 times in the past 10 years. The driver has a long list of new crimes to add to his existing collection.
Man Burned While Processing Drugs in Sylvan Apartment
Deputies responded to an apartment explosion in Sylvan on November 29. The resident had extensive burns to his upper body. It turns out the man was "cooking" hashish, a process that increases the potency of a marijuana derivative. Deputies believe he was using highly volatile chemicals that became unstable and caused a violent explosion that blew out the back wall and windows of his apartment. While he was legally in possession of the marijuana, it is illegal to change its composition in a way that poses danger to others.
Deputy Talks Suspect out of House in Hillsboro
Deputies responded on December 14 at 6:14 p.m. to a call of menacing at SW Lisa Drive and SW Baseline Road in Hillsboro. The victim said the suspect assaulted her with a weapon and then ran into a house. Police set up containment while Deputy Prince placed a phone call and talked with the occupants of the house. Four people walked out of the house peacefully, including the suspect. The suspect was charged by Hillsboro Police for the crimes that were actually committed earlier in the day at another location.
Dumpster Divers Arrested in Chemeketa
A citizen reported a suspicious vehicle and two males who were stealing items from dumpsters at an apartment complex on December 10. Deputy Povolny located the truck nearby and observed the males trying to steal scrap metal and other items from a loading dock. Both were arrested and confessed to several similiar crimes along 185th Avenue and surrounding areas over the course of about a month.
Also in November, Washington County Sheriff's Sergeant Shaun Bailey was honored as Supervisor of the Year by the Oregon State Sheriff's Association. With us for 16 years, Sergeant Bailey is now the supervisor of the Sheriff's Criminal Apprehension Team and the County Tactical Negotiations Team (SWAT).
Sergeant Bailey takes a special interest in physical fitness and defensive tactics, which makes him a solid survivial skills instructor to our troops. Sergeant Bailey received this award for outstanding professional achievement and accomplishment as a leader.
If someone starts shooting in public, should I shoot back?
This article is inspired by questions we are receiving from our concealed handgun license holders, thank you for sharing them with us.
One way we process tragic events like the shootings at the school in Newtown, Connecticut, or the Clackamas Town Center is to run through the scenario in our heads. How would we react, what would we do, what if my family is with me? Planning and thinking through various situations is a healthy way to give yourself peace of mind and to live safer.
Drivers learn and practice driving on icy roads. Businesses have fire or evacuation drills. It is the same if you carry concealed - have a plan and practice. If you have a plan, improve it. If you don't, start today.
We can't endorse action you may take during an active threat event, but we can share important considerations that may help you decide whether or how to respond if you are in such a situation. Here is a list of some considerations from our firearms experts to get you thinking:
If at all possible, have someone call 9-1-1 immediately.
Can you assess your situation accurately? How many shooters are there? Are you in a position of tactical advantage or are you already cornered? You need to be able to assess the backstop behind your target, and to see who is between you and the shooter. How comfortable are you firing your weapon, and do you have extra ammunition with you?
If possible, choose a position behind an object or structure that both conceals your location and provides a barrier before engaging the shooter. You may want to consider separating from your family or others. Once you engage the shooter, his focus will turn to you and those around you. If the shooter comes to you, you may have to take immediate action.
We know a shooter's field of vision will narrow to some degree, often to pin-point vision. They may lose the ability to see peripherally and suffer diminished hearing. They could feel like they are in slow motion. This may also happen to you, depending on your experience.
Finally, and this is the toughest part of the plan, are you prepared to take the shooter's life to save the lives of others? The shooter has already made the decision to kill people. Have you ever considered this scenario? Is it part of your mental plan?
If you do take action and are able to successfully engage the shooter, you need to understand that you are now presenting an armed, unknown threat to responding law enforcement (or possibly to other well intentioned armed citizens). If you continue to display your weapon, when police encounter you there are only fractions of a second when life or death decisions are made. After you successfully engage a shooter, our trainers recommend you ensure your empty hands are plainly visible. Either re-holster or put your gun down depending upon the environment, situation, and proximity of police.
It is highly unlikely that you will ever find yourself involved in an active shooter situation; however, if you do, and you have a CHL, it is good to be prepared. It's like putting that spare tire and some extra emergency items in the trunk of your car before a long trip. You never know when you may need it, but you will have it just in case.
Practice regularly with the gun you carry. Practice regularly drawing from a concealed carry position using the holster you will be wearing. Practice until you are proficient with your gear. Be aware of your surroundings. Have a plan.
Thank you charitable readers! Together we collected 609 coats plus about 50 pairs of shoes and other items for needy families. Everything was donated to the Hillsboro Family Resource Center or to the Sonrise Baptist Church Clothes Closet. Both charities serve people in our own backyard.
Two big community partners on this project include Jeff Larson and his folks at Formit, who collected about 50 coats, and employees at the Washington County Juvenile Department who contributed about 200. We also thank the Sheriff's Office volunteers who gave their time to help distribute the items for us.
Every contribution to One Warm Coat made someone more comfortable for the winter, so thank you to all who contributed in big or small ways!
While monitoring jail cameras, a technician observed four inmates approach the jail kitchen. One of them stayed in the service corridor as "lookout" while three sneaked quietly inside, took something, and left. The responding deputy found four inmates innocently mopping the floor, but the jig was up when he looked in a nearby laundry bin. They had risked more jail time to steal something valuable . . . cookie dough. They burgled and gobbled a batch of cookie dough.
In mom's kitchen, you might get a time out for such an offense; but this is jail, so they got more time "in".
Dumb Crook at the Front Door
A deputy was in our records office completing paperwork. He glanced out the window in time to see a man ride up to the Sheriff's Office entrance on a bike. The deputy was shocked as he watched the man get off his bike, roll up the large outdoor rug, throw it over his shoulder and then calmly ride off. The deputy called dispatch and the crook was arrested just down the road. When asked why he would steal a rug from right in front of the Sheriff's Office, our crook replied because he needed a rug and that one was really nice quality.