Recent media releases from the Benton County Sheriff's Office are listed below. To read past media releases, go to the "Supporting Documents" section of this web page.
Fatal Crash Investigation on Highway 34
On Sunday, November 28, 2021, at about 10:15 am, Benton County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to a vehicle vs bicycle crash at the intersection of Highway 34 and Decker Road, approximately 6 miles west of Philomath. Based on witness statements, the bicyclist, Sherry Elizabeth Sisson, 78 years old of Corvallis, was attempting to turn east onto Decker Road as a Ford pickup driven by Joseph Bernard Richards, 61 years old of Albany, was attempting to overtake the bicyclist. The Ford and the bicyclist collided. Life saving measures were taken in an attempt to revive the bicyclist who was later pronounced deceased at the scene.
The Benton County Sheriff’s Office Crash Team is investigating the incident. Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Sergeant David Iverson at 541-766-6858. The Philomath Police Department and the Oregon Department of Transportation assisted with the investigation.
Results from extra traffic patrols from October 2021.
Upcoming extra patrols in December 2021 and continuing through 2022.
The Benton County Sheriff’s Office worked extra patrols throughout the month of October 2021. During regular patrols and extra patrols (funded by grants) in October 2021, the sheriff’s office had the following activity levels measured in citations and arrests related to traffic control. The Benton County Sheriff’s Office arrested 13 for DUII (Alcohol, drug, and/or inhalant). This is 8 more than September 2021, and brings the total for January – October 2021 to be 68 on the year. Deputies issued citations or arrested 34 for Driving While Suspended, issued 93 citations for speeding (61 less than last month, but still the second highest number of speeding sights compared to other months in 2021), 10 for safety belt violations, 3 for using their cell phone while driving, and 56 other citations for various violations. Deputies responded to 19 traffic crashes with 6 involving injuries. In total Deputies responded to 1602 calls for service in October 2021, which brings the total up to 14,169 for the year.
Benton County Sheriff’s Office deputies will continue to be working extra patrols through grant funding in December 2021 and throughout the rest of the grant year that ends in September 2022. Deputies will be continuing working extra grant shifts to help keeps our roads and highways safer. Deputies will be on the lookout for and arresting impaired drivers, stopping and issuing citations to speeding motorists, distracted drivers using their cell phones, people not wearing their seatbelts, and child safety seats not being used properly or at all.
Benton County Implements Notification System to Remind Defendants about Court Hearings
In cooperation with law enforcement partners, the district attorney’s office, and courts, the Benton County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) will begin using a new software program and making in-person phone calls this week to notify defendants about upcoming court dates or hearings.
These efforts are an attempt to reduce the failure to appear rate for Benton County Circuit Court hearings.
The system is similar to what many health care providers use to notify clients about appointments. Clients who have a case in pre-trial status may receive up to three notifications through a phone call, text message, and/or email. The first notification is sent two days before the court hearing, and the second one is sent on the day of the hearing.
“We hope this notification system will reduce our failure to appear rate, which is the top reason people are issued citations for warrants in Benton County,” said Sheriff Jef Van Arsdall. “It’s a tool to help defendants succeed while creating a degree of accountability.”
In 2020, Benton County law enforcement officials arrested 5,115 people. The most common charge was failure to appear, which accounted for 30 percent of those arrested.
BCSO Jail Sergeant K. Hunnemuller is overseeing the pre-trial program and also believes the new notification system will help reduce the failure to appear rate in Benton County. “This program is proven throughout the United States to be successful and I am excited to get this program up and running.”
Sheriff Prepares for Restrictions on Jail Booking Photos
Benton County Sheriff’s Office will no longer provide booking photos on their jail roster and will have limited release on social media and future press releases.
In compliance with Oregon House Bill 3273, law enforcement agencies may not release a booking photo except:
- To the person depicted in the booking photo;
- To another law enforcement agency, or to a law enforcement officer employed by another law enforcement agency, for a law enforcement purpose;
- To the public, if the law enforcement agency determines that there is a law enforcement purpose for the release, including but not limited to assistance with the apprehension of a fugitive or a suspect in a criminal investigation, or the identification of additional criminal activity; or
- Upon the conviction of the person depicted in the booking photo, if the conviction results from the arrest during which the booking photo was obtained.
The bill goes into effect January 1, 2022; however, a request has already been made with the Benton County Information Technology Department to give them time to remove the images.
Jail booking details, including names and charges, remain available at https://www.co.benton.or.us/sheriff/page/inmate-roster-reports. Once the photos are removed, they will be available by request up until the effective date of the new law, by making a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further details on House Bill 3273, please go to https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2021R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/HB3273.