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Inmate taken to hospital after smashing window, breaking table


Gregory Hering, 43, becomes violent during arraignment for resisting arrest charge

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Columbia County Sheriff Jeff Dickerson said the inmate who broke the window Monday, Gregory Hering, is known to become violent while staying at the jail. An inmate at the Columbia County Jail smashed a window between him and a court verifier Monday, Feb. 23, at about 2 p.m. before breaking a table in the same room in what officials called a “violent outburst.”

Gregory Hering, 43, of Portland, was transported to Portland’s Legacy Emanuel Medical Center with two Columbia County Sheriff’s Office deputies after the outburst. Hering required stitches in his arm to close a gash that had resulted from his punch through the window, said Columbia County Sheriff Jeff Dickerson.

The St. Helens Municipal Court verifier was arraigning Hering on a warrant for failing to appear on a resisting arrest charge when he became violent. Hering apparently left blood throughout the room, on the walls and floor, according to a press release on the incident.

Dickerson said the episode wasn’t the first time Hering had become violent while lodged at the jail.

“Sometimes when Greg is here, he becomes violent. Not always, but sometimes,” Dickerson said. “We have unruly inmates. From time to time we have to use a Taser or use a restraint chair.”by: PHOTO COURTESY OF THE COLUMBIA COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE - Hering

Dickerson said Hering was back in the jail Tuesday, Feb. 24, after receiving stitches.

Deputies have to be prepared for rowdy inmates who could injure themselves or others, Dickerson said, noting some will beat their heads against the walls or attempt to harm deputies in order to score a trip to the hospital.

“It's not uncommon for an inmate population to become violent from time to time,” Dickerson said.

Dickerson said all available deputies are summoned to manage such violent outbursts when they occur.

“It's an all hands on deck sort of thing,” Dickerson said. “The first priority is the safety of the court verifier. Next is to calm the situation down if we can.”

When deputies entered the room with Tasers, Hering apparently calmed down and complied.

“We did not have to Taser him,” Dickerson said.

Dickerson highlighted in a press release how the jail’s function to contain such violence could be jeopardized if the jail were to shut down.

"Citizens need to know that our jail is designed to handle people who come to us with all kinds of issues, including violent ones like this," Dickerson said. "I worry about the safety of our law enforcement officers and the citizens they are sworn to serve if we end up losing this facility and have no place within the county to take people like this."