Douglas Co. Sheriff's Office
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News Releases
This Fourth of July, Help Us Spread the Message That Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving (Photo) - 06/26/17

We often hear statistics that we only briefly register and then just as quickly forget, assuming--hoping--that those statistics will never touch us. How could we possibly know those faceless numbers? In 2015, 10,265 people were killed in drunk-driving-related car crashes, accounting for nearly one-third of all traffic fatalities. That is 10,265 mothers, fathers, children, siblings, friends, grandparents, and so many more. To put it into perspective, that's one person killed every 51 minutes. It's the equivalent of 20 jumbo jets crashing, with no survivors. Where is the outrage?

This year, families and friends will head out to picnics and parties on Tuesday, July 4, to celebrate our nation's independence. The Douglas County Sheriff's Office and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration want to remind you that any time you drive under the influence of alcohol, you put everyone in danger, including yourself. Don't be a 2017 statistic--help us spread this lifesaving message: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.

In every state and the District of Columbia, it's illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. Yet, during the 2015 July Fourth holiday period (6 p.m. July 2 to 5:59 a.m. July 6), 146 people died in motor vehicle crashes involving at least one drunk driver or motorcycle operator (BAC of .08 or higher), accounting for a quarter of the deaths. Ninety-two people died in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a BAC of .15 or higher--nearly twice the legal limit.

This Fourth of July, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office is asking the community to make a plan before heading out to the holiday festivities. "Every year, we see the devastating consequences of those who choose to drink and drive," said Sergeant Mark Norris. "Some years, our very own community is affected by drunk driving. This senseless behavior must end. There are so many other options available to get you home safely. Not using these resources is reckless and irresponsible."

NHTSA data shows that young drivers (18 to 34 years old) are especially at risk of driving drunk. In fact, 46 percent of the drivers 18 to 34 years old who were killed in crashes over the July Fourth period in 2015 were driving drunk (BAC of .08 or higher). Motorcycle operators are also over-represented with the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired drivers in fatal crashes. In 2015, more than a third (36%) of motorcycle operators in fatal crashes had BACs of .08 or higher.

Drunk drivers are also more common at night. Over the July Fourth holiday period in 2015, nearly half (44%) of the drivers in nighttime (6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.) fatal crashes were alcohol-impaired, compared to 19 percent of drivers in fatal crashes during the day.

"We're at the mercy of the community," said Sergeant Norris. "It's up to you to be responsible when you drink alcohol. Please, please--always designate a sober driver, even if you think you'll only have one drink. Drinking and driving is never a good idea, and it endangers you and everyone around you. Remember: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving."

Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you've just had one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or use public transportation to get home safely recommends these safe alternatives to drinking and driving.

- Download NHTSA's SaferRide mobile app available on Google Play for Android devices: (, and Apple's ITunes Store for IOS devices: ( SaferRide allows users to call a taxi or a predetermined friend, and identifies the user's location so he or she can be picked up.

- If you see a drunk driver on the road, call 9-1-1.

- Know a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.

Drinking and driving is dangerous, even if you're "just buzzed." When you drive impaired, you risk your life and safety, and the lives and safety of those riding with you and around you. Does mortality not get your attention? Maybe money will: A DUI arrest could cost you up to $10,000, not to mention the loss of your vehicle and only driver's license. You could face jail time, higher insurance rates, and hefty expenses from attorney fees, fines, car towing, repairs, and lost time at work.

This Fourth of July, commit to only driving 100-percent sober, because Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. For more information on impaired driving, visit

Attached Media Files: buzzed-driving.jpg
Joshua Michael Palmer
Joshua Michael Palmer
Man Wanted in Connection With Arson Investigation (Photo) - 06/23/17

***UPDATE 06/23/2017***

At approximately 1:20 am, Joshua Palmer was taken into custody by Douglas County Sheriff's Office deputies when he returned to the scene of the Arson.

He was arrested for Arson I without incident. Additional charges are expected.

The structure was a residence and is considered a total loss.



On Thursday, June 22, 2017, at approximately 12:00 pm, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office was notified of a structure fire involving suspicious circumstances in the 4000-block of Scholfield Road in Reedsport.

Deputies responded to the area and conducted an investigation. The investigation has determined the cause of the fire to be the result of Arson. Deputies consider 25 year-old Joshua Michael Palmer of Reedsport to be a suspect in the case and are currently seeking his whereabouts.

Anyone who believes they have information about the fire or Palmer's whereabouts is asked to contact the Douglas County Sheriff's Office at 541-440-4471 or by email at

The Sheriff's Office is being assisted by the Oregon State Fire Marshal's Office and Oregon State Police.

No further information will be released tonight.

Attached Media Files: Joshua Michael Palmer
Experienced Hikers Rescued by SAR (Photo) - 06/20/17

On Sunday, June 18, 2017, at 10:00 pm, Douglas County Search and Rescue received a distress message from two lost hikers. The two hikers had planned on hiking the North Umpqua trail from Maidu lake to Swift Water trail head, which they had done several times before and were familiar with the area. The pair began their hike in favorable conditions. As they gained elevation, they began to confront problems. The snow was still several feet deep. The two were unable to locate the trail any longer and became lost. They had planned ahead and were prepared with enough food for seven days, sleeping gear, and shelter. However, they did not have a map and compass.

The pair stayed overnight until rescue crews could be deployed in the morning.

On Monday, June 19, 2017, SAR located the subjects. Due to snow and weather conditions, crews were unable to lead the pair out on the shortest route. Instead, SAR members lead the subjects to safety by going to Miller Lake in Klamath County for extraction. The total mission lasted about 6 hours.

Search and Rescue would like to remind everyone of the following tips:

Your safety is our concern, but it is your responsibility. You are responsible for yourself, so be prepared. Here are some ways that you can be better prepared in the event something goes awry on your next outdoor adventure.

Be prepared with knowledge and gear. Become self-reliant by learning about the terrain, conditions, local weather and your equipment before you set out.

- Share your plans. Tell someone where you are going, where you plan to hike or recreate, when you will return and your plan for emergencies. Leave a map, if possible.

- Stay together. When you start as a group, stay as a group and end as a group. Pace your adventure to the slowest person.

- Know when to turn back. Weather changes come quickly in the mountains. Fatigue and unexpected conditions can also affect your adventure. Know your limitations and when to postpone the trip. The outdoors will be there another day.

- Plan for emergencies. Whether you are out for an hour or a multi-day trip, an injury, severe weather or wrong turn could become life threatening. Don't assume you will be rescued; know how to rescue yourself. Always carry equipment in case you have to spend the night. Have food, water, shelter, weather appropriate clothing and carry a first aid kit.

- Communication devices. A cell phone alone does not suffice as an emergency plan. A large portion of our remote areas do not have cell phone coverage. Whichever communication device you decide to carry, make sure you have sufficient power. An alternate power supply is a good idea. If you choose to recreate alone, personal locator beacons are a valuable tool and provide rescuers a better opportunity to find you.

Attached Media Files: SAR
From L to R: Deputy DeVore, Deputy Barden, Deputy Ogbin
From L to R: Deputy DeVore, Deputy Barden, Deputy Ogbin
Three Corrections Deputies Graduate Academy (Photo) - 06/19/17

On Friday, June 16, 2017, the Douglas County Sheriff's Deputies graduated from the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) Corrections academy. Their training included six weeks of classroom and skills training.

The graduates are:

Deputy Daniel Barden

Deputy Randy DeVore

Deputy Kacie Ogbin

Sheriff John Hanlin and members of his command staff attended the graduation ceremony on Friday.

"These deputies have demonstrated dedication to their new profession. They represented the Sheriff's Office and the community we serve well at the academy."

The Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) operates the Oregon Public Safety Academy which spans more than 235 acres in Salem. The Academy is nationally recognized for its innovative training programs and active stakeholder involvement. Eriks Gabliks serves as the Director, and Sheriff Jason Myers of the Marion County Sheriff's Office serves as the Chair of the Board. The department implements minimum standards established by the Board for the training and certification of more than 40,000 city, tribal, county and state law enforcement officers, corrections officers, parole and probation officers, fire service personnel, telecommunicators, emergency medical dispatchers and private security providers.

DPSST provides training to more than 25,000 students each year throughout Oregon and at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem certifies qualified officers at various levels from basic through executive; certifies qualified instructors; and reviews and accredits training programs throughout the state based on standards established by the Board.

**UPDATE** Water Rescue on North Umpqua River (Photo) - 06/14/17

***FINAL UPDATE - 06/14/2017***

On Tuesday, June 13, 2017, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office recovered the body of Riley Rappe in the North Umpqua River.

The Sheriff's Office received a call from a citizen who located Rappe's body approximately 1 mile downstream from the bridge where he was last seen on May 22, 2017.

Next of kin has been notified.


***UPDATE #2 - 05/24/2017***

The search continues today for a man who jumped into the North Umpqua River from the bridge at Northbank Road and Singletree Lane near Glide on Monday evening and was carried down stream.

Investigators believe the victim to be 34 year old Riley Flury Rappe of Roseburg. Rappe has been missing since Monday evening and his vehicle was located near the bridge with his Oregon Driver's license inside. Rappe was experienced with this stretch of the river and has reportedly swam and jumped off of the bridge for years. He is presumed drowned.

Deputies will continue their search throughout the holiday weekend.

***END UPDATE #2***

***UPDATE #1 - 05/23/2017***

Today, Marine Deputies and Douglas County Fire District #2 swift water rescue teams continued the search for the missing man.

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office received support and assistance from the Oregon State Police and North River Boats. Additionally, air support was provided by Bill Woods and the Douglas Forest Protective Association.

The search concluded for today at 1600 hours. Crews will resume the search Wednesday morning.

***END UPDATE #1***


On Monday, May 22, 2017, at 7:28 pm, Douglas County 9-1-1 received an emergency call of a subject who had jumped off of the bridge into the North Umpqua River near North Bank Road and Single Tree Lane in Roseburg. The caller reported the male was being swept downstream after entering the water.

The Sheriff's Office Marine Division along with Douglas County Fire District #2 Swift Water Rescue Team and Glide Fire Department responded to the area. Emergency crews attempted to locate the man without success. The search has been suspended for the evening due to nightfall and hazardous conditions, but will resume the search tomorrow morning.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Douglas County Sheriff's Office at 541-440-4471.

No further updates or information will be released tonight.

Search and Rescue K9 Team locates missing elderly woman - 06/02/17

On June 1, 2017, at approximately 7:30 PM, Douglas County Emergency Communications received a call from the family of 88 year old Betty Chambers of Riddle reporting her missing. Mrs. Chambers had gone for a walk at about 3 PM. By 5 PM she had still not returned, so the family began looking for her. They were unable to locate her.

Deputies arrived at the scene at approximately 8 PM and began searching the residences and outbuildings on the farm then walked the surrounding area.

At approximately 9 PM Douglas County Search and Rescue teams arrived on scene. Both ground and K9 units were deployed to aid in the search.

At 11:30 PM, Mrs. Chambers was located by a Search and Rescue K9 Team.

The DC Search and Rescue, Riddle Fire, and the South DC Steep Angle Rescue units all participated in transporting Betty about one mile to a waiting ambulance. Betty Chambers had suffered minor injuries and was mildly hypothermic. She was transported to Medford.