The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office Criminal/Patrol Division consists of 8 full time sworn deputies. Eight deputies are assigned to criminal investigations/patrol duties. The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office headquarters are in the Umatilla County Justice Center in Pendleton. Offices in Hermiston and Milton-Freewater serve as stations for the West and North regions of Umatilla County. Deputies are trained in all aspects of criminal investigation and possess the ability to properly investigate any complaint that may be assigned to them. Some deputies have additional expertise in major crime investigation and interviewing. As members of the criminal division, all are trained in rural crime prevention techniques. The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Division is committed to making the rural areas of Umatilla County a better place to live.
The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Unit consists of two sworn detectives and a non-sworn Criminalist/Evidence Technician. The division is supervised by the patrol Lieutenant, who oversees the unit, performs the duties of general law investigation and serves on the Umatilla County Major Crimes Team. One Detective Sergeant is responsible for field supervision of the unit, performs the duties of general law investigation and serves on the Umatilla County Major Crimes Team. One Detective is assigned to the Drug Task Force. All of the Detectives are trained in all facets of criminal investigation. The Criminalist/Evidence Technician is highly trained in the identification, recovery and preservation of physical evidence and is also responsible for documenting and storing evidence. Cases assigned to the Criminal Investigation Division are those that require particular expertise or may require extensive or lengthy follow up, thus freeing patrol deputies for other duties.
Blue Mountain Narcotics Team (BENT)
The Blue Mountain Narcotics Team (BENT) established in 1986 andis comprised of Detectives from six different police agencies; the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office, Morrow County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police, Pendleton City Police, Milton-Freewater City Police Department and the Umatilla Tribal Police Department. These Detectives, who specialize in narcotics related crimes, have consistently proven to be a premier investigation unit in the region. BENT is also assisted by two members of the Oregon Army National Guard Counter Drug Unit.
Rural Crime Prevention Program
The Rural Crime Prevention Program began operations in January 2006. It is staffed by two volunteer deputies who are presently coordinating thirteen major Rural Neighborhood Watch Units, consisting of nearly four hundred citizen members and applicants located in Western and Northern Umatilla County and some residents of Morrow County who have land interests in Umatilla County. The Rural Neighborhood Watch Program is affiliated with the U.S. Department of Justice and the National Sheriffs’ Association which is a proud partner of President Bush’s Citizen Corps initiative empowering citizens to take an active role in homeland security and crime prevention at the local level. The Rural Crime Prevention Program organizes and brings together rural county farmers ranchers and residents to provide tools and education in crime prevention and reporting in areas of limited law enforcement services. While it provides assistance and support to Rural Neighborhood Watch Units, its mission is to assist and prepare citizens in creating and operating their own Rural Neighborhood Watch programs within their own areas. Rural Neighborhood Watch members are trained to be alert and aware of their surroundings as well as identifying and reporting suspicious persons and activities within their Unit to law enforcement agencies for further investigation and enforcement if necessary. The Umatilla County Sheriff and the Rural Neighborhood Watch Program are committed to keeping Umatilla County citizens and property as safe and secure as possible.
Criminal Evidence Technician
Deputies, courts and the public are all assisted by the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Evidence Technician, who documents and maintains secure custody of evidentiary materials. At crime scenes the evidence technician secures evidence and Documents its relationship to the scene which allows officers more time to concentrate on other aspects of the investigation. In the evidence room, the technician prepares evidence for secure storage or transportation to forensic testing laboratories. The evidence technician may document formal interviews with audio/video recordings which facilitates wider use of interview information. Secured material evidence is retrieved by the evidence technician and submitted to the court in a timely manner and in a condition suitable for presentation at trial. Property which has been found or recovered and evidence which has been cleared by the court may be released to the owners. The evidence technician documents and effects the release of this property.
Seasonal Marine Patrol
The Umatilla County Marine Patrol Division consists of two seasonal deputies who patrol the Columbia River and McKay Reservoir areas. This is approximately 196 square miles. The Marine Division enforces Oregon boating laws and assists the public by conducting search and rescue operations, hull inspections and by providing safety classes throughout the year. It is funded by the Oregon State Marine Board.
Seasonal Snow Patrol
The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office Snow Patrol Division became part of the Sheriff’s Office in 1987. The mission of the Snow Patrol Division is to maintain the safety and the security of the inter-trail systems, thereby allowing all trail users to have an enjoyable outdoor experience in and around the Umatilla County area. The Snow Patrol Division is currently supervised by the Reserve Patrol Division with the assistance of a hand full of special deputies. All man hours are voluntary. This division is primarily funded through grants obtained from the Oregon State Snowmobile Association and local snowmobile clubs.
The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office employs one, seasonal Corps Deputy. This position is funded by the Army Corps of Engineers under a contract with the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office to patrol the Corps of Engineers property on the Columbia River in the vicinity of McNary Dam. The Corps Deputy also provides backup for Criminal/Patrol Deputies and, when needed, assists other agencies in jurisdictions surrounding the Corps of Engineers property. The program runs from Memorial Day until the end of September.