Ryan Dews on administrative leave pending OSP investigation into unspecified conduct

COLUMBIA COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE PHOTO - Dews pictured with Lars, the Sheriffs Office canine he handles.A Columbia County Sheriff's Office deputy has been placed on administrative leave, pending an external investigation.

Oregon State Police is investigating Deputy Ryan Dews for unspecified conduct unrelated to his duties as a law enforcement officer.

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office confirmed Tuesday that Dews was on administrative leave.

"We received an allegation concerning conduct that was unrelated to his employment at the Columbia County Sheriff's Office," Lt. Brian Pixley with CCSO stated via email Tuesday. "As a precaution, he was placed on administrative leave and it was assigned to the Oregon State Police for follow up."

Neither OSP nor CCSO would confirm the nature of the investigation. As of Thursday, no arrest was made in connection with the investigation, and OSP Capt. Tim Fox would only confirm an investigation was ongoing.

Dews, 43, is currently a canine handler with the Sheriff's Office and is the designated handler for Lars, a police dog used regularly by the Sheriff's Office for tracking and apprehending suspects.

Dews is the third CCSO deputy to be investigated since March 2017, but the only one to be looked at for potentially criminal conduct.

Two other Sheriff's Office personnel, including the former undersheriff, were investigated internally at different times for non-criminal behavior that may have violated CCSO policies and standards, Columbia County Sheriff Jeff Dickerson said last year.

The former undersheriff, second in command to the sheriff, was given a different title within the organization, and earlier this year, a lieutenant was demoted to a sergeant before eventually retiring from the Sheriff's Office in February.

Dews was once awarded a medal of valor from the Oregon Peace Officers Association for pulling a man from a burning car after a crash in 2010. The man later succumbed to his injuries.

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