Pacific County Deputies assist commercial gillnet vessel with engine failure

South Bend, WA. – On August 25th at approximately 6:10 PM, the Sheriff’s Office received a request for assistance from the operator of a commercial gillnetting vessel that had experienced engine failure. The vessel was forced to anchor in Willapa Bay near Bay Center. Deputies responded from the South Bend area in the Sheriff’s Office patrol and search and rescue vessel to assist.

 

Deputies successfully provided safe passage and tow for the vessel and the operator back to the South Bend boat launch. Sheriff Scott Johnson stated, “I am very pleased with the quick response that our office was able to provide in this situation. We have been working very hard to increase our services to the public. Our marine services division is one example of a service that didn’t exist in years past. We recognize that our public’s safety is equally important on or within our waterways.”

 

Sheriff Johnson also added, “We are grateful for the positive support that we have received from the Board of County Commissioners, helping to aid us with jumpstarting the marine program”.

Pacific County Sheriff’s Deputy placed on leave following criminal charges

South Bend, WA. – A Pacific County Sheriff’s deputy remains on administrative leave after eleven criminal charges were filed today against the deputy, including one count of first degree extortion, four counts of bribery, five counts of reckless endangerment, and one count of reckless driving. Johnson is also a former Cosmopolis police officer.

The deputy, identified as Vance O. Johnson age 44, is a 5 year veteran of the office. Deputy Johnson had been on administrative leave while an internal investigation that led to the criminal investigation related to these charges was conducted. The investigation was conducted by the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office at the request of Sheriff Scott Johnson to ensure that it was conducted in a fair and impartial manner.

The investigation was started after information and witness statements were received on April 21st of this year relating to an incident that Deputy Johnson was involved in that occurred originally while he was off duty, and later events that occurred while he was on duty.

Sheriff Scott Johnson said, “Today is a very sad day for the men and women of the Sheriff’s Office, it’s news none of us ever wish to hear, however nothing is more important than maintaining public trust and confidence in our employees, all of whom I hold to the highest moral and ethical standards”.

Lewis County Prosecuting Attorney Jonathan Meyer is prosecuting this case in Pacific County Superior Court due to a conflict regarding one of the witnesses in this case working for the Pacific County Prosecutor’s Office.  Sheriff Johnson & Deputy Johnson are not related.

Law enforcement administrators meet in Pacific County to discuss trending issues

The Pacific County Sheriff recently hosted a meeting of local law enforcement administrators to discuss several regional issues. The combined agency meeting was to further efforts by each of the agencies to share information and resources, and work together towards improving service to the public. A variety of issues were discussed including but not limited to the new ATV laws, private forest land closures, field intelligence information sharing, beach driving and inter-agency training. A special presentation was made by the Intellicheck/Mobilisa Company that introduced an app that would aid law enforcement in checking for crimes that people may be wanted for with a smart phone. 

Other agencies were also introduced to the Sheriff’s Office K-9 and handler, Deputy Justin Kangas. The Pacific County Sheriff’s Office hosts similar meeting like this on a semi-annual basis. Sheriff Johnson appreciates the participation in the meetings and noted that inter-agency cooperation allows for better and more effective law enforcement. The original meetings involved the Sheriff’s Office and local police departments and now have been expanded to include Washington State Parks, Department of Corrections, Washington State Patrol and Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife. 
From left to right in the photo: Washington State Parks Supervisor Evan Roberts, Raymond Police Chief Chuck Spoor, Washington State Department of Wildlife Sgt. Dan Chadwick, South Bend Police Chief Dave Eastham, Pacific County Sheriff Scott Johnson, Pacific County Undersheriff Todd Fosse, Washington State Department of Corrections Supervisor David Thompson, Washington State Patrol Captain Chris Old, Washington State Patrol Sgt. Brad Moon and Washington State Patrol Sgt. Larry Conley.

Present at the meeting but not pictured in the photo were Pacific County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Pat Matlock, Shoalwater Bay Tribal Police Chief Robin Souvenir and Raymond Police Sgt. James Samplawski.

Pacific County Sheriff’s Office introduces K-9 Ciko, handler Deputy Justin Kangas

South Bend, WA.- On December 30th 2013, the Pacific County Sheriff’s Office took possession of its newest K-9 partner, “Ciko”, a one year old German Shepard. K-9 Ciko was born in Slovakia and was imported to the United States by Shallow Creek Kennels located in Sharpsville Pennsylvania.

“We believe that K-9 Ciko will be a very positive deterrent and will complement our Search and Rescue bloodhound, K-9 Diesel very well” - Sheriff Scott Johnson
“We believe that K-9 Ciko will be a very positive deterrent and will complement our Search and Rescue bloodhound, K-9 Diesel very well” – Sheriff Scott Johnson

The Sheriff’s Office has selected Deputy Justin Kangas as K-9 Ciko’s new partner and handler. Both Deputy Kangas and K-9 Ciko are currently attending a ten week, 400 plus hour K-9 training academy located in Pierce County. The ten week K-9 training is very intensive and covers several areas of learning discipline. Upon successful completion of the training, Deputy Kangas and K-9 Ciko will have met state law requirements and standards to be a certified apprehension and tracking team.

Sheriff Scott Johnson stated, “We believe that having an apprehension and tracking dog within our agency will definitely be a positive asset to the citizens and other law enforcement agencies within our county. We have long had the need to be able to track criminals fleeing active burglaries and vehicle prowls while on foot. We have also experienced increased reports of prowlers in different neighborhoods around the county during all hours of the day and night”
“We believe that K-9 Ciko will be a very positive deterrent and will complement our Search and Rescue bloodhound, K-9 Diesel very well”.

Sheriff Johnson also lauded the Pacific County Commissioners for their support of the program and their unwavering commitment to help improve the protecting of property and public safety as well as the many organizations that have donated funds to the Pacific County Sheriff’s Office K-9 program. Johnson stated, “We anticipate that Deputy Kangas and K-9 Ciko will be ready to hit the road sometime in March”.

2014 Brings Change to Pacific County Sheriff’s Office

South Bend, Washington – Pacific County Sheriff Scott Johnson announced changes to the Sheriff’s Office command staff including a retirement, promotion, and new appointment.  In November Chief Civil Deputy Debbie Allison, who has been employed by Pacific County in excess of 30 years, announced her intent to retire effective December 31, 2013.  Sheriff Johnson expressed his appreciation of Allison’s years of service and work ethic, stating that he values her attitude and principles, always treating issues as if they were her personal responsibility with the intent to work in the interest of the taxpayer and citizen safety.

 

With the retirement of Deputy Allison, Sheriff Johnson has appointed Denise Rowlett as Chief Deputy, with responsibility for civil, financial, and administration operations within the office.  Rowlett has been employed with the Sheriff’s Office for over 14 years serving as Deputy Director of Emergency Management since 2008.

 

Sheriff Johnson has appointed Scott McDougall to fill the position of Deputy Director of Emergency Management.  McDougall joins the office with previous experience in the fire service as well as Pacific County Fair Manager.

 

The Sheriff added that he wishes Allison the best in her retirement, and is looking forward to leading the command staff team with those in new roles as we approach 2014.

Pacific County Saddened by the Death of Former Sheriff

South Bend, Washington – Late yesterday afternoon the Pacific County Sheriff’s Office learned of the death of former Pacific County Sheriff John Didion and wishes to extend heartfelt condolences to John’s wife, children, and grandchildren at this sad time.

After a successful career as an NFL linebacker, John and his family settled in Pacific County where John served as Sheriff from 1998-2010. John was a key supporter of the Naselle Youth Camp for at-risk youth over the years.  “He worked to keep that facility open when they faced state budget challenges” Sheriff Johnson noted. 

According to Sheriff Johnson, former Sheriff Didion began his career with Pacific County as a road deputy and was later assigned as the D.A.R.E. officer.  Didion also served as the Washington State D.A.R.E. coordinator.  He worked to modernize the Pacific County Sheriff’s Office during his years of service.  In 2009-2010 Didion served as the President of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. 

“John did a lot for our community and for the Pacific County Sheriff’s Office where he served as Sheriff for 12 years.  He will be missed by many,” said Sheriff Scott Johnson.  

Area Sheriff Departments Sign Inter Local Agreement


From Left clockwise around the table, (Lewis County Sheriff Steve Mansfield, Grays Harbor County Sheriff Mike Whelan,Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza, Mason County Sheriff Casey Salisbury,Mason County Chief Deputy Osterhut,Mason County Undersheriff Barrett,Thurston County Undersheriff Braniff,Pacific County Sheriff Scott Johnson and Grays Harbor County Undersheriff Rick Scott).This agreement formalizes the purpose, services, and authority. This agreement is similar to the one signed by Sheriff Johnson in May of 2011 with Wahkiakum & Cowlitz counties in Washington, and Columbia and Clatsop counties in Oregon. That agreement also gave mutual police powers between each county, and it has allowed Drug Task Force deputies to make arrests on persons trafficking narcotics interstate.

“We are making great strides in developing relationships with other agencies that significantly benefit our local communities”, Sheriff Johnson said. “Sharing resources and personnel, often at no cost, are huge during these tough economic times”. The Sheriff’s were careful to note that they would not invoke the agreement on everyday routine calls, but would feel free to call on one another when a major incident occurs and local staffing was inadequate.