Letters of Praise

The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office periodically receives thank-you letters from citizens and other agencies. We've reproduced some of our recent favorites below. (Letters may be edited for length or clarity, and identifying details are removed.)


If you'd like to send your own note of praise, feel free to use our online commendation form.


A citizen called in February thanking Deputy Zagyva for helping an older gentleman with possible dementia. The gentleman was out in the cold and needed medical assistance. Two to four inches of snow was forecast for that evening.

According to the citizen, Deputy Zagyva went out of his way to "identify the man and to provide respectful assistance to him." Deputy Zagyva recognized the gentleman needed medical assistance and sent him to the hospital by ambulance. The citizen was very impressed by Deputy Zagyva's "assistance and compassion for this possibly homeless gentleman who was in distress."

-- Oak Grove (via internal email)

Parole & Probation Officer Kernsis is very understanding. She makes me feel comfortable enough to be honest about my issues. She is very understanding about addiction, and I can't tell you how very good that makes me feel about asking her for help -- knowing at the same time she will make me accountable.

I really want to just have her be recognized as a caring, understanding probation officer -- someone who really tries to help you with your life and helps you be a better person. She's really changed my outlook on authority. 

-- Clackamas County

My wife came home to find a burglary had occurred. When Deputy Kishpaugh arrived, he was just amazing -- he went above and beyond. You can tell he's in the business of law enforcement to help people. He made a great personal connection while at the same time performing his job in the most professional manner. We were amazed at how much time he spent with us, and how good he was with our kids.

-- Estacada

My 5-year-old daughter and I were recently involved in a car accident -- an elderly gentleman pulled directly in front of us while we were going 45-50 mph.

I had blood coming from somewhere, and I didn't know up from down.

Deputy Fooladjoush was a calming voice during my madness. He was calm, kind, concise and patient. I probably asked him the same questions eight times, and he never lost his patience with me.

I also overheard him giving direction to others -- he has obvious leadership skills.

I appreciate that someone gave me comfort in that dark moment. Thank you for being a voice of reason.

-- Estacada


Deputy McBride was very courteous, taking the time to explain and educate me on the issues at hand between myself and a renter. He stopped by and spoke with the renter and took care of the situation while I was not home. He was very kind.

-- Clackamas County

My neighbors in Villebois thank all the patrol deputies involved for their response to stop a group of home invaders in our area caught on camera. Thank them for their ongoing excellence in law enforcement to keep our community safe.

-- Wilsonville

I want to thank the team assigned to the Family Fun Center and Bullwinkle's Restaurant for our "After Dark Event." Your presence was greatly appreciated -- and your proactive response to a possible issue was very professional. I appreciate the hard work and dedication of the deputies in Clackamas County and Wilsonville.

-- Wilsonville

Thanks to Deputy Belmont for returning my dog to my residence. The dog is a rescue and suffers from anxiety issues, and is violent around other dogs -- a shelter was definitely not the place for him. Thanks again for going above and beyond.

-- Gresham

I want to commend Deputy Westerman for her comportment during our traffic-stop interaction. She was firm but kind enough to help me figure out which of the multiple registration documents was the correct one. Despite my having broken the law, she put me at ease and made sure I was aware of all the rules moving forward.

Police officers have a tough job, and I want to thank her for her respectful and fair treatment.

-- Estacada

I want to send a personal thank-you to Sgt. Dunkle for working diligently to help me during a personal crisis. I will never forget your kind words of encouragement that day, and the reminder to push myself to reach my full potential. You told me I shouldn’t let that situation define me, and that I was better than my mistakes. Those simple words from you changed my whole perception of my reality....

-- Wilsonville

Dear Sheriff Roberts: Our school, Riverside Elementary (NCSD), is a Title I, bi-lingual Spanish immersion school located in Milwaukie.

 This week we are participating in the International Great Kindness Challenge. My class of 4th and 5th graders wanted to send notes of appreciation to our local sheriff's department to say thank you for all you do for our communities.

 Please expect these "homemade" cards to arrive soon in the mail. We hope you can pass them out on a day when your deputies and sheriffs need a bit of cheer and encouragement. We hope they brighten your day.

 Thank you for all you do for our community.

-- Riverside Elementary, North Clackamas School District

I want to let you know how very much impressed I am with the efficiency and professionalism of your Concealed Handgun Unit.

Not only did I find the online application to be straightforward and easy to use, I was very pleasantly surprised when the system offered me the opportunity to schedule an appointment for today. I was absolutely stunned when your employee handed me my license perhaps 10 or 15 minutes after I walked in her office.

Your department has set a very high bar for service, and I have a feeling that I am going to be measuring all of my future interactions with government entities against this one.

-- Clackamas County


Sgt. Mendoza was very professional and compassionate in assisting me with finding resources for a distraught home-health patient I was seeing. He helped my client with a ride to the hospital when there was literally no one else who could -- a simple act that proved very beneficial in this man's path to recovery.

-- Clackamas County

A citizen called saying she was very impressed and grateful for the way Deputies Ferguson, Slinger and Brown interacted with her autistic son during a recent incident. The caller said she was beyond pleased with the service the Deputies provided -- they were very "sweet" to her son and were able to calm him down. The interaction was described as “beyond her expectations.” She wanted all the deputies to be recognized for their professionalism and the outstanding service.

-- Internal commendation

This is the first accident I’ve ever been in, and it really is an awful thing to experience.... Deputy Cochran didn’t leave until he was sure I was okay.  I felt safe with him being there, and I want to thank him for all his help.

-- A Happy Valley resident involved in a traffic crash, writing to thank Deputy Cochran for his help in the interactions between her and the other involved driver

Deputies Funk and Wildhaber displayed a level of complete professionalism and compassion that made the situation much better for all parties... Their overall patient, friendly and compassionate demeanor truly assisted in defusing the situation and turning it into a favorable outcome for all involved.

-- Ravalli County Montana and the Drug Enforcement Administration, writing to thank Deputies Funk and Wildhaber for assisting in the contact of a reluctant but valuable witness in an important trial


Deputy Ethington bought my family a beautiful Christmas tree -- something we didn't think we would have this year. I'm not one to ever ask for help, but this has been a hard time. We have two boys and are really trying to make a Christmas for them.

-- 'Feeling blessed in Wilsonville, Oregon'

A domestic-violence victim was living in her vehicle and her window was broken into. Sgt. Ritter and Deputy Ethington contacted Wilsonvile Honda -- which provided parts and labor to repair the window, free of charge.

[Read more about this act of charity here.]

-- Internal commendation

Sgt. Griffith and Deputy Gaytan arranged for Santa (played by Gaytan -- on his day off) to visit a Christmas party planned for less-fortunate children in Wilsonville.

They obtained gifts from a local charity, and each child had their photo taken with Santa. For some, it was the only gift they received at Christmas!

-- Wilsonville

Reserve Deputy Michael Thran: Thank you for catching the two guys breaking into vehicles in my neighborhood. Perfect timing and an alert eye! Pleas share with your supervisor how grateful I am to have you working in Clackamas County.

-- Clackamas County

A man called to commend Deputy Edwards for talking him through some tough times. The citizen said that phone conversation is the reason he's still alive today.

-- Internal e-mail

Thank you so much to Deputies Woodward and O’Day for the considerate and caring way you handled the death of my spouse. The way it was handled on the phone when I filed a missing-person report, the way the shocking news was delivered to me at the house -- were handled in a professional yet caring manner.

I feel supported, protected and cared for by our local police. Thank you for being here.

-- Clackamas County

• In the early morning hours of December 5, Deputy Gombos saw a male inmate attempting to commit suicide in the Clackamas County Jail. Gombos immediately led the way in the cell and took steps to save the life of the inmate. The inmate survived. According to his supervisor, Deputy Gombos’s professionalism and quick thinking saved the life of this inmate.

Later that same day: Jail Nurses Carrie Rall and Cherie Dawkins rushed to an unresponsive inmate in the women’s isolation unit. Her skin was an ashen gray, and she did not appear to be breathing. They quickly administered oxygen and First Aid. The inmate began to recover and came back to consciousness. She was taken to the hospital. These two medical professionals certainly saved this inmate's life this day.

-- Two in-house commendations for lifesaving events that happened on the same day at Clackamas County Jail

Thanks to Deputy Sheriff Jon Lee -- he really looks out for people. He remembers old cases and checks to see if things are going well and everyone is safe.

-- Happy Valley

"I just saw the coolest thing. I was driving by the high school and a Jeep (or somesuch) was stalled in the road. Deputy Keen was pushing the stalled car into the high-school parking lot. I just thought that was really cool of him." "He was out of his car pushing it. Nobody else stopped, so he was doing it by himself." "I've got to say that policing in America is, in and of itself, a true form of service. Adding such good-Samaritan actions on top of it with a gesture like the one above is exemplary service. My daughter was uplifted to be seeing the act. I was uplifted by the story. And they (the) guy stalled in the intersection at the end of a cold and dreary Monday probably thinks he has a guardian angel now."

-- Multiple accounts of Deputy Keen's actions

Recently, during a very upsetting time in my personal life, your team to allowed me to keep my pride and dignity, and it is greatly appreciated.... I’m proud that I’ve had the chance to work with such honorable people.

-- Clackamas County

I was involved in car accident, and Deputy Westerman did all the work collecting information from all involved parties. I've never had anyone go so far to make sure I was not hurt and had all the necessary information to begin filing a claim. She was concerned for my well-being, polite, and very efficient. I want her to know that I am very grateful for her help in this matter. I've been in accidents before, and have never had all the information available so swiftly. Thanks so much.

-- Portland

On Oct. 14, a citizen called with this message: The caller's daughter was involved in a car crash in Brush Prairie, Washington. Her daughter was trapped in her car for approximately 20 minutes. During this time approximately 30 other cars drove by without stopping. Deputy Cameron -- who was off-duty and in his own vehicle -- stopped to check on her.

 He attempted to calm and comfort her while notifying first responders and directing them to the scene. Her daughter was very impressed with the compassion and willingness to help when others just drove by. This was a very traumatic incident, and she felt comforted and at ease with deputy Cameron helping her. The caller said she and her family were forever in debt to Deputy Cameron for his compassionate actions.

-- Internal email

I am the Advocate assigned to work with the victim in a case. She told me about now great Deputy Steinhauer was to her and her children. She talked about how he made her feel that people cared -- and he was a huge comfort to her children.

I know that you guys don’t get to hear this often in domestic-violence cases -- or, really, lots of cases -- but I wanted you to know what an impact you had on her and her children. Thank you for all the work you guys do!

-- Victim Advocate, Clackamas County District Attorney’s Office

Two years ago I was [in distress]. Deputy Russell came to my house and talked to me and checked on me. I never thanked him, but I really want to. Maybe through baked goods? I make yummy brownies and cupcakes!

-- Clackamas County

A shout-out to the deputy who saved the "distressed parrot." Good man. Give that man a doughnut.

-- Lilburn, GA

I want to compliment Deputy Keen, who came to my assistance when my Ford truck had stopped alongside Highway 26 a few miles past the town of Sandy, OR.

I had no cell phone, and he saw me waving my arms behind my truck. He turned around, put on his emergency lights, then drove behind my truck. He used his cell phone so that I could call someone to pick me up and take me home. Then he used his cell phone to call the nearest towing company. He waited with me until my neighbor arrived.

Had it not been for Deputy James Keen, my truck could have been hit, and I could have been stranded for hours.

-- Sandy

We had someone try to get into our house by knocking on the door. Then he ran into a neighbor's back yard. I had to call in twice, and both times the 911 operator was wonderful and helped ease my panic. The officers came out very quickly -- and actually found the man attempting to break into a neighbor's house.

They arrested him and very kindly let us know we were safe and could stop worrying.

I don't know the officers' names, but would love to let someone know what a great job was done by them and the 911 operators. Thank you all so much for all your hard work!

-- Happy Valley

I just wanted to thank you very much for helping me out Friday evening. It was very stressful sitting there blocking traffic. I appreciate you taking the time to come back and hang out for a while, placing flares out and making me feel more at ease through a humiliating experience when you were supposed to be off-duty.

-- Clackamas

Parole & Probation Officer Joe has been very helpful to us as a family -- being sensitive to the stress of having a family member on probation. My husband and I are in our active 70s,and appreciate the encouragement and understanding he has shown us.

-- Happy Valley

My son had a mental breakdown and was very agitated. These two deputies came in, and with soft words they were able to calm him so it was safe to bring in the paramedics. They were amazing.

The thing that I remember the most was the kindness and concern for us.

I have always supported our policemen but this was the first time I have had any interaction with them. I want them to know how much I appreciated them during this time. A huge thank-you from the bottom of my heart.

-- Clackamas County

I saw a Sheriff's car in front of my neighbor's house. The neighbor was with a deputy. My son spotted this and told Deputy Adel he wanted to be a policeman when he grew up. Deputy Adel said he would stop by after he was done with the neighbor to bring him a sticker.

Some time had passed, and I thought that maybe the deputy got called away or had forgotten. He had not.

He pulled into the driveway, to my son's extreme delight, and talked with all three of my boys for a good 10 minutes or so -- allowing them to see all the lights, how some of the cameras work, and giving them each a sticker.

If a thanks could be extended to Deputy Adel, I would greatly appreciate it.

-- Damascus

I want to take this opportunity to provide some feedback about my experience with several CCSO Deputies. Information was reported that a relative threatened another with a firearm and was a danger to himself and others. Deputies arrived. Four deputies approached the relative as he sat on my tailgate, and I stood nearby to provide information as needed. Your deputies were genuinely engaging with him; they listened, asked great questions, and made efforts to build trust with him in case of future concerns. I was blown away by the way they handled everything.

Kuehl and Eason immediately put the relative at ease with their calm demeanors and sense of humor. It was amazing to see in the moment and is even more impressive now that I have had a couple days to reflect on everything.

Your deputies took the time to understand the situation, despite the concerning content of the 911 call. They took the time to explain to my family member how they have to respond to such a report. They found common ground with the relative and built a positive relationship with someone who struggles to trust people. It was an absolute home run, and I appreciate it more than I can explain. My hat is off to everyone involved.

-- Molalla

During the summer, while having dinner, I was approached by a citizen. He went into great detail about how Deputy Kauffman had responded to a call he placed to dispatch, and how our office had helped him with a neighborhood livestock situation.

The citizen described how Deputy Kauffman went "above and beyond" in his efforts to find a solution in dealing with a bull that had escaped the fenced area of his neighbor's property and wound up on his property -- causing damage and creating a potential for improper breeding of the citizen's livestock.

The citizen complimented how the call was handled and how much effort Deputy Kauffman went to in trying to successfully resolve the situation. The citizen nicknamed Deputy Kauffman "The Cowboy Cop."

-- Internal commendation letter

I just want to thank both deputies (Deputy Fooladjoush and partner) who assisted us on a case. We are in a world that focuses on the negative and over looks the tremendous amount of positive. These two officers could not have been more compassionate and helpful through a very difficult time. Please recognize the gift your department has in these two men. I pray for their continued safety as I do all the amazing men and women who protect and serve us daily.

-- Gresham

I was involved in a two-car accident at 3:58 p.m. By 4:10 p.m., Deputy Sanders arrived on-scene and took charge. He first ascertained that neither I nor the other driver was injured, and made sure we were able to get out of our cars. He proceeded to take all our information and gave us Crash Report Driver Exchange print-outs. He called for two tow-trucks and remained on the scene until the tow trucks had taken away the cars.

I'm writing to say what a wonderful help Deputy Sanders was. He was very pleasant, extremely helpful, efficient and caring. You should be very pleased this man in on your staff.

-- Wilsonville

Deputies Krause and Olson arrived to help with a known and frequent client with mental-health issues who had called 911 multiple times to report that a pet had been harmed. (The pet was actually fine.) Both deputies were extremely kind, patient and helpful in the situation, and facilitated the Behavioral Health Unit folks to come down and talk with her as well as us to figure out the best way to help the pet and the client. All four members of the team were very cooperative and helpful and went above and beyond to make sure that my team was well supported to minimize any drama or trauma to the staff, the pet, and a lobby full of other clients/patients.

-- Local veterinary office

I want to thank you for asking Deputy Cronk to present at our "Coffee With A Cop" program last Saturday.

Deputy Cronk did a fantastic job. She came prepared with info and local statistics she thought would interest the citizens (it did), and answered a wide variety of questions from attendees. She was professional and friendly with everyone who attended, including a young family. The audience was charmed by Deputy Cronk's rapport with the kids. She provided the kids Sheriff's Office stickers and coloring books as well as teaching points in an age-appropriate manner.

At these programs we ask attendees to complete a short survey, ranking the program on a scale of 1-5. She received the first "6!" I've ever seen. A direct quote from one survey answering "What did you enjoy most?": "Really just hearing from a police woman about policing in the area was a rare experience. Thank you."

-- Wilsonville Public Library

Deputy Smith was extremely helpful and understanding during a mental health crisis at Kaiser Sunnyside Hospital. Please tell him thanks.

-- Portland

A citizen called to commend Deputy McLeland for doing an outstanding job taking her daughter into custody. She described her daughter as not making good decisions.

Deputy McLeland located the daughter at the Town Center. The mother described our deputy as very calm and "wonderful," talking to the daughter with great empathy and taking time to listen to her. He calmly advised that she was going to be taken into custody and gained her compliance.

The mother wanted Deputy McLeland recognized for his professionalism and showing her family that cops can "have a heart" when dealing with people who are in crisis.

-- Internal commendation letter


Dear Sheriff Roberts: I just wanted to tell you something you probably already know: what a great deputy you have in Deputy Meyers.

My son is the young man who was missing on Mt. Hood last Saturday. Of course we were frightened and feeling helpless. There was literally nothing we could do to help find our own son.

When Deputy Meyers arrived he was so confident, so reassuring without promising anything he couldn't know yet. He explained things and answered all our questions. He was absolutely everything we needed at that time. He was calm and calming, jovial, and funny, but stayed "within the lines." He told us interesting stories of other searches, and was careful how he told them. I also made a suggestion that he listened to and pursued.

He is a great person.

-- Handwritten note

Deputy Bigler responded with Hoodland Fire on a Code 99 emergency. He arrived ahead of the rescue crew and began extremely efficient CPR on a 14-year-old male patient. The patient's outcome after Advanced Life Support by Hoodland Fire Paramedics was greatly improved by Deputy Bigler's CPR. The patient was transported to Randall Children's Hospital with a cardiac rhythm.

My agency and our citizens are proud of the dedication and personal skills of deputies who patrol and protect our mountain communities.

-- Hoodland Fire, Welches

Deputy Kishpaugh responded to our home in response to a burglary that my wife came home to find (with two of our small children). When Deputy Kishpaugh arrived, he was just amazing. I could go into all of the details, but in short, he went above and beyond. You can tell that he's in the business of law enforcement to help people. He made a great personal connection while at the same time, performing his job in the most professional manner. We were amazed at how much time he spent with us, and how good he was with our kids.

-- Estacada

My kids had gone up to the mountain to play in the snow on Lola Pass. We had all been up there the previous Sunday to play in snow. There is no cell-phone service, and as the day went on it became dark and later and later with no phone contact from the kids.

My husband called the non-emergency line -- and they were on top of it.

Deputy Meyers personally contacted me and went up on the pass to see how far he could get up there. He was not able to see them and he had his partner go up the other side and he also was not able to see them.

I knew exactly where my kids were -- I just couldn't get to them. The unknown was terrifying.

On Monday morning, they brought up the ATVs and were able to find the kids.

It was amazing, just the feeling of having such an awesome search and rescue team on my side. They truly went above and beyond the call of duty for this mom's sanity.

-- Portland

I am a TIP NW volunteer and was called to the scene by Deputy Cronk. She was so kind and caring with grieving parents. I was touched by her kindness and how she was able to comfort them. A big thank you to her.

-- Tualatin

Approximately one month ago I approached Deputy Buzza to tell him about a theft that happened at my rental property. The item stolen was a pressure washer with blue tape on it. That was all the information I had to give Deputy Buzza -- I did not have the serial number, make or model. I did not fill out a police report. I just assumed the pressure washer would never be seen again.

I recieved a call from Deputy Buzza approx one month later saying he found the pressure washer at a pawn shop. Deputy Buzza, on his day off, stopped by a pawn shop near where the theft happened to ask if they had taken in a pressure washer with blue tape.

Deputy Buzza could have just blown off my verbal request/complaint and gone on with his business. Instead he went out of his way to find the stolen property.

-- Portland

My son got lost while looking for herbs for his restaurant with a fellow chef. He called 911 and Deputy Peterson and Deputy Meyers found him within two hours. I really appreciate the very fast response.

-- Rhododendron

Today, my bulldog, who is crazy obsessive about balls, chased a basketball deep in to a thicket of blackberry bushes, where there was no way to get to her.

Deputy Watts came "on scene" and realized she was stuck somewhere between the fence running along Sunnybrook and 105th near Kaiser Hospital. He assessed the situation, materialized a machete, and began cutting through the thick prickly bushes.

A neighbor and passers-by were helping from the Sunnybrook fence while he tried to whack through the gnarled snares.

After some time, we were able to find that my dog was about 10 feet from the Sunnybrook fence. Realizing he'd have to go in another 40 feet with the machete, he went to the rescue from the fence side.

Deputy Watts called his wife to bring tools he had at home to cut the fence (plus a hot dog to entice her, just in case). 

Imet them down by the fence, where angels from heaven (neighbors, passers-by and Deputy Watts) saw my dog panting 10 feet from the fence. I was able to coax her to the fence, the two men lifted the bottom of the fence, and she was finally freed.

I so appreciate him taking this seriously, as my bulldog is my best friend and companion. Deputy Watts is a very special man and deserves accolades for his compassion and diligence.

-- Clackamas

I wish to commend Deputy Manley for the wonderful job he has done to help us in getting the squatters out of our house. He has gone above the call of duty to help us with this matter. Without his phone calls and emails we wouldn't have known what to do. We really appreciate all of his help and meeting us at the house after the squatters were gone. Many thanks again from all of us and from the neighbors too.

-- Portland

Sgt. Christensen was one of the deputies who responded to help search for my missing 3-year-old. Sgt. Christensen found my son safe with a neighbor from a couple streets over. After he found my son, Sgt. Christensen returned to our house to bring both my little boys some stickers, tattoos, and coloring books. I really appreciate that extra effort -- that wasn't something he had to do, but it was very nice and thoughtful. It really made my kid's evening.

When Deputy Gibson arrived at the search, I was very upset. He was very calm and reassuring. Just his presence calmed me down immensely, and he was very patient and friendly with my other son, who was just so excited for there to be a policeman at our house. He was very efficient in getting things started and explained everything to me so I understood what actions they were taking.

I'm very thankful that these deputies were so quick to respond. I never got any impression or feeling that we were wasting their time or that they would rather be doing anything else.

I am very grateful for everything your deputies did for us yesterday in finding my wandering little boy. I won't forget it, not ever. Thank you!

-- Clackamas

My parents were victims in a hit-and-run car accident. The person checked on them, and then, while "parking," left via another entrance to the parking lot.

Luckily there were people around who took down the driver's car information and relayed it to Deputy Lee. We are so grateful to these bystanders, and I also appreciate Deputy Lee's compassion and care when dealing with my parents. They were quite shaken by the event, but his approach with them was beyond professional. He showed a genuine interest in them and was very reassuring in letting us all know that he would follow up on the given info. I also appreciate his insistence to my parents that they see a doctor -- he didn't want them to be "stubborn" and brush that off.

We were so fortunate that my parents weren't seriously injured. But we were just as fortunate to have Deputy Lee be our responder. Many thanks.

-- Milwaukie