About the Multnomah
County Sheriff's OfficeThe 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
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.”