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September 27, 2018

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office review of Kevin Straw arrest


Sheriff Jason Myers’ Statement

The use of force in an arrest is sometimes necessary when dealing with an individual who resists arrest through
passive or active actions. In this situation, the force that was used has been determined to be lawful by the
Marion County District Attorney’s Office’s independent review. While this determination has been made, it
doesn’t mean that the most appropriate course of action was taken.

The Sheriff’s Office also conducted a review of this arrest, specific to the actions taken by our Deputies, the
Sheriff’s Office policy in place at the time of the arrest, and the training our Deputies have received. This thorough
review found that there should have been better communication between the all of the Deputies involved prior to
the arrest, better situational evaluation and decision making, the use of verbal de-escalation techniques prior to
the arrest and consideration of alternatives in lieu of a custody arrest. The Sheriff’s Office review concluded that
had these steps been followed they would have likely reduced the need for a custody arrest or for the force that
was necessary to make this arrest. The independent review of this arrest by the Oregon State Police had similar
findings.

Below are the findings and remedies from the Sheriff’s Office review.

-A violation of the Sheriff’s Office Use of Force policy has occurred and will be addressed accordingly.

-The need for re-training or enhanced training on the Marion County Mental Health Task Force Law
Enforcement memorandum on dealing with individuals who are in a behavioral health crisis.

-The need for review and potential enhancement to Sheriff’s Office policy on verbal de-escalation
techniques, situational evaluation, and alternatives to custody arrest for situations involving non-violent
persons who exhibit behavioral health symptoms.

-The need for enhancements or additional Sheriff’s Office training (including scenario based training)
specific to verbal de-escalation techniques, situational evaluation, and alternatives to custody arrests in
situations involving non-violent persons who exhibit behavioral health symptoms to include Autism.

The policy and training issues identified in this review fall squarely on me as Sheriff, and you have my personal
commitment that improvements have and will continue to be made in these very important areas. It is the goal of
the Sheriff’s Office to always meet the public safety needs and the expectations of the community we serve. In
this circumstance, I believe we as an Office fell short of our community’s expectations and for this I apologize. All
the necessary changes in Sheriff’s Office policy, training and decision making processes will be made in order to
ensure this kind of a situation doesn’t happen again.

Marion County Courthouse • 100 High Street NE / PO Box 14500, Salem, OR 97309
503.588.5094 • 503.588.7931 (fax) • www.co.marion.or.us/so
“To whom much is entrusted, much is expected.”
The deputies involved in the incident have excellent service records, and have expressed their determination to
learn from this incident. While Deputies train regularly and strive to make the best decisions possible in all the
difficult situations that they face, the reality is they don’t have the luxury of hindsight as they must make a
decision in the moment based upon their training, experiences, knowledge of office policy and applicable laws.
The Deputies involved in this arrest have or will be returning to their assigned functions, but will (as well as all
sworn members of this Office) be receiving additional training on the areas described above. I have the utmost
confidence in all of these Deputies and the important work that they do to keep our community safe.

Jason Myers, Sheriff