Clackamas Deputy Resigns, Faces Decertification Over Prescription Drug Abuse

By Rick Bella, The Oregonian, Wednesday, February 08, 2012

A committee of law-enforcement professionals will consider whether to recommend revoking state certification for a former Clackamas County sheriff’s deputy who has admitted his struggle with addiction to painkillers.

The state Police Policy Committee will weigh the case against former Deputy Matt A. Harikian, who resigned last year during an internal investigation into abuse of prescription medications.

The board will meet Feb. 16 in Salem and forward its recommendations to the State Board on Public Safety Standards and Training. If the board revokes Harikian’s certification, he will not be able to work in Oregon law enforcement again.

According to state records, Harikian, 35, began as a West Linn Police Department reserve in 1997 and was hired as an officer two years later. In 2003, he joined the Oregon City Police Department and became a Clackamas County sheriff’s deputy in 2005. He resigned in July 2011.

In 2007, a Clackamas County grand jury declined to indict Harikian after he and a fellow deputy returned fire in a standoff with a mentally ill Oak Grove woman. The woman, Tonya Irene Yut, 39, shot in their direction before fatally shooting herself. An autopsy indicated that Yut was struck by three bullets, one from a deputy’s gun and two from her own. She fired the fatal shot.

In a letter to state investigators, Harikian said, “I admit that I struggle with an addiction to prescription medications, an addiction that I will have to live with the rest of my life…I do not have the intention of returning to police work.”

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