About the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office
The Multnomah County was created on December 22, 1854, from
parts of Washington and Clackamas counties by the Territorial Government five. The county's formation was prompted by residents
who found it inconvenient to travel to Hillsboro in Washington County to conduct county business. In 1854, the first Sheriff of the county, William L. McMillen was appointed and served until 1858. Today,
more than 50 percent of the county's population lives in the city of Portland.
Organizationally, the two largest divisions in the Multnomah
County Sheriff's Office are the Corrections Division and the Enforcement Division. The
Corrections Division includes the Corrections Emergency Response Team. According
to the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, In 1997, Sheriff Dan Noelle directed Chief Deputy Jeannie King to develop a Corrections
Emergency Response Team (CERT). With the ever-growing jail population and incarceration of more violent offenders due to population
releases, a unit was needed in the event of an emergency in one of the many correctional facilities. After a rigorous selection
process, which includes a physical agility test designed for real world situations, CERT members attend a school designed
for CERT units. CERT units differ from SERT/SWAT units as their missions mostly occur within correctional facilities. MCSO
CERT has extended their service to the community by developing other responses outside of facilities.
In 1998 the MCSO CERT was activated. Two months after activation,
CERT was dispatched to a potential hostage situation at the Juvenile Corrections Facility in Multnomah County. After a six
hour stand off, the “green light” was given for CERT to retake the area that had been taken over by four juvenile
suspects, who had destroyed the area and armed themselves with weapons found in a common office area, including paper cutter
blades. The situation was resolved, with the assistance of the Portland Police Bureau, Portland Fire Bureau and the MCSO CERT
Unit. No major injuries were reported.”
The Enforcement Division includes the Investigation Section,
Operations Section, Search and Rescue Unit, Special Investigations Unit and others.
“The purpose of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) is to investigate illegal drug activities in the Metro
area, and other criminal activity as directed by the sheriff. The unit conducts
criminal investigations regarding street level illicit drug activity, up to and including the prosecution of federal narcotics
crimes. The SIU gathers evidence in both criminal and civil forfeiture cases. The workload is increasing due to more sophisticated drug activities and an increase
in locally manufactured methamphetamine.
The Special Investigations Unit is comprised of one sergeant,
four deputies, an Investigative Technician, and one officer each from Troutdale and Gresham police departments. Members of this unit work all hours of the day and night under stressful and dangerous conditions. Their investigations take them into areas considered hazardous to health and public
safety. The nature of their work brings them into close proximity to unstable
chemicals and other contaminants.”