Right now many of us in Naselle would have gladly settled for the usual "wet Christmas." The white Christmas we got came with traffic accidents, power outages, Naselle Youth Camp escapes and silver thaws, and is continuing towards New Year's Day.
Locally we've had two-plus feet of snow, the most that I've seen here since 1980. It's kind of slowed things down a little but at the same time made you appreciate what you do have more than usual. It's really quiet here with snow and no power, it gives you a time to think and converse instead of plugging into TV.
Even with the high snowfall we managed to squeeze in an attempted escape by two female inmates from Naselle Youth Camp. I'll never figure out the thought process involved. Let's see - two feet of snow, freezing cold - what a great time to hit the woods! One escapee was recaptured quickly, the other the next day, Christmas eve. In between we pursued a pickup that was noticed hanging around Naselle Youth Camp and turned out to be stolen and, we think, possibly involved in the attempted escape. We, the Pacific County Sheriff's Office, Washington State Patrol, Oregon State Patrol, Astoria Police Department and Clatsop County Sheriff's Office, eventually bottled the vehicle and its two occupants up on the Astoria Megler Bridge after a chase starting from Naselle. The occupants were eventually taken into custody after a foot pursuit in Astoria near the bridge where they abandoned their vehicle. Great cooperation between law enforcement agencies and Naselle Youth Camp staff helped make the arrests safely in a potentially dangerous situation.
During this season most people were snug at home, enjoying family, wrapping presents and looking forward to Christmas. No one, I'm sure was thinking of donning boots and warm clothing to go out into the freezing cold to look for a couple of convicted felons who chose, once again, to break the law. I realize that it's our job, but I'm always impressed with the courage, dedication and professionalism of our public safety officers.
So much goes unnoticed and unknown about what our officers do on a daily basis. We do make mistakes and those seem to always be spotlighted and called to question and in all fairness should be. However, no one, other than our peers, crime victims and suspects usually see the "good stuff" that happens 99 percent of the time.
Over the two days of chasing the inmates around Naselle and the stolen vehicle state to state, I got to see some great police work. Deputies Scott Ferguson, Paul Jacobsen and Trooper Jesse Greene handled their duties aggressively, safely and professionally. During the pursuit especially they managed to stay close enough while driving safely to track the fleeing vehicle from Naselle onto the bridge and into Astoria.
The entire incident is still under investigation. No matter how the case eventually turns out, no citizens were injured and both escapees were recaptured due to the efforts of Naselle Youth Camp staff and Washington and Oregon law enforcement officers doing their jobs well. As citizens you can be very proud, as I am, of the quality of service you receive on a daily basis from your local law enforcement officers.