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Detective receives Fire Investigator of the Year Award

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Washington County Sheriffs Office Detective James Mitch Coley was honored on Sept. 14 with the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI) 2016 Fire Investigator of the Year award.Washington County Sheriff’s Office Detective James “Mitch” Coley was honored on Sept. 14 with the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI) 2016 Fire Investigator of the Year award at the IAAI Annual awards banquet in Bend.

The IAAI Fire Investigator of the Year award is presented to a person who has demonstrated outstanding achievement and professionalism in the field of fire/arson investigation and is selected from nominations submitted by their peers in the field of Arson Investigation for the honor.

Coley was nominated for his diligent and tireless efforts investigating a series of arson fires set on Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation properties where the responsible party was ultimately prosecuted for these crimes.

Coley has been a detective with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office for 10 of his nearly 20 years in law enforcement and specializes in arson/explosives investigations. Coley is recognized by his peers, supervisors, partner agencies, and the Washington County District Attorney’s Office as a dedicated expert in the field of arson investigation.

He is a mentor to his fellow investigators, and peers and supervisors often attribute successful prosecution of cases to Detective Coley’s thorough and detailed investigation. He has also served on the Clandestine Lab Enforcement, Remotely Operated Vehicle Teams, Major Crimes Team, Westside Interagency Narcotics team and is a Survival Skills Instructor at the Sheriff’s Office.

Detective Coley served in the Unites States Air Force and retired in December of 2013 as a Chief Master Sergeant after 23 years of service. While working at the Sheriff’s Office, Coley deployed four times to Iraq, Afghanistan and other foreign countries. He earned the Bronze Star for working with the 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq for Explosive Ordnance Disposal and led 867 combat missions during that deployment.