Cowlitz Co. Sheriff's Office
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News Releases
Cowlitz County Sheriff Announces New Crime Tip Program - 04/17/15
KELSO, WA - Cowlitz County Sheriff Mark Nelson announced today that his office is launching a new non-emergency crime fighting tool, and it is your very own cell phone.

The Sheriff's Office has contracted with a software company who has developed a phone app to accept anonymous tips from the public. The program is called "tip411" and is available in both Android and Apple formats.

"Citizens today are far more likely to text or email a tip than they are to make a phone call." said Sheriff Nelson. "This is technology that helps connect the Sheriff's Office with our citizens in a different way, and will enable us to get timely, anonymous information on crimes in Cowlitz County."

"The public is our greatest crime fighting resource. As fellow citizens, this is a collaborative between law enforcement and the public in an effort to help deal with crimes which occur here in Cowlitz County." Sheriff Nelson said. "In addition to phone reports and Crime Stoppers, we hope that the public will use this system to share information on suspicious activity, drug complaints, domestic violence, or other criminal incidents that they have information on. Another great feature is that it is interactive. A deputy can respond back with questions."

This program is not in conflict with Crime Stoppers. Crime Stoppers continues to be a county-wide program that offers the potential of a monetary reward for tips called in. However, tip411 provides a means for people to anonymously pass on non-emergent information through a means used more and more frequently; texting."

Often time's people see or have information about a crime, but are concerned about calling that information in and someone finding out who reported it. Through tip411, all reporting is anonymous. Where the tip information came from is scrambled, so it is virtually untraceable. "Even if law enforcement were to ask the company for it, they couldn't, and wouldn't be able to retrieve it." Sheriff Nelson said.

For right now, the Sheriff's Office is the only local agency offering this service. "While about one half of county's citizens live in within the city limits of one of our local communities, the police departments have not opted in to using the service at this time. We're the trial agency." Sheriff Nelson said. "We will forward tips on major crimes that have occurred in the cities, but cannot include all city crimes because the contract is for the number of citizens in the unincorporated area of the county that we serve directly."

To use tip411, county residents can simply text their tip from their cell phone to 847411 and begin their message with "CCSOtip". Or they can go to tip411 on their app provider and download "CCSOtip" on to their phone. Then they'll automatically be connected to send tip information and can opt in to receive selected alerts from the Sheriff's Office. Your cell provider's text messaging fees will apply.

"In addition to our Facebook page and Twitter, this is another way for us to connect with the folks we serve." Sheriff Nelson said, "And I like that."

Sheriff Nelson stresses that this is not for emergencies. "In an emergency, call 911."
Body found on shore of Columbia River near Kalama, Wa. Body is decomposed. - 04/16/15
Cowlitz County: Today at about 7:00 a.m. fisherman found a decomposed body (male) on the short of the Columbia River about 1 mile south of Kalama Wa. The body was turned over to the Cowlitz County Coroner who will be working to identify the decease and determine the cause of death.
Cowlitz Sheriff K-9 tracks down burglar. Man arrested. Longview Wash. - 04/16/15
Longview, Wash - Earlier today at about 0223hrs a Millennium Bulk Terminal industrial site security officer found a man hiding on their property. He fled when the security guard contacted him. Sheriff Deputies responded, including Deputy Brent Harris and his K-9 "Fritz". Deputies found pipes near the fence that the suspect had placed in an attempt to steal them. They found a spot in the fence where the suspect had fled. K-9 Fritz tracked the man across the highway and found him hiding in the brush. The man admitted to entering the business. He was booked for Burglary 2nd degree.

SUSPECTED: Skondin, Samuel W. 40 years old. He gave a Ferndale Wa. address.

We do NOT have pictures to share.

Mr. Skondln has an extensive record of scrapping metal.