A Gresham police officer turned in her badge this week while under investigation for partying with the enemy.
In police reports reviewed by WW, informants portray Cheryl Dykehouse as an active member of Portland's club, rave and after-hours party scene. They allege that the 31-year-old cop used drugs and once tipped off a Northwest Portland nightclub to a possible investigation of drug dealing at the establishment.
Dykehouse, whose last day on the job was Monday, spent three years as a well-regarded Portland Police Bureau reserve cop before Gresham hired her in 1997. Contacted by WW, she called the probe a "witch hunt."
The police reports claim Dykehouse spent her weekends at clubs like the Panorama and Cobalt Lounge, as well as at rave parties where police say ecstasy, ketamine and GHB use is routine. In March, a suspected drug dealer-turned-informant told Portland police that Dykehouse had used cocaine, ecstasy and ketamine. Based on the tip, officers picked through Dykehouse's trash, unearthing five baggies that tested positive for methamphetamine.
The informant, along with an employee of a now-defunct venue frequented by Dykehouse called Club Halo, also told police that she used her position as an officer to protect the club. The two said she prevented patrol officers from cracking down on noise complaints and warned management that police might be investigating suspected drug-dealing there. Jeremy Dieter, who owned the club, did not respond to a WW email.
Dykehouse's case is similar to that of Gina Hoesly, the Portland cop who faces trial next month on charges of possession of ecstasy, cocaine and methamphetamine. The charges stem from a tip from the same informant and a subsequent search of Hoesly's trash, which yielded paraphernalia, drug residue and a used tampon for DNA comparison.
Dykehouse, however, will face no such charges. In October, Multnomah County Senior Deputy District Attorney Mark McDonnell chose not to seek an indictment against her.
Her attorney, Steve Myers, says police were convinced that the drugs in her garbage were actually used by a friend staying at her house, and he says prosecutors realized the informant's credibility is "fairly poor." To prove she never used, Myers had a lab conduct tests on two and a half years' worth of Dykehouse's hair.
When police interviewed a friend and an ex-boyfriend, both paramedics from the county's ambulance provider, AMR, they told investigators that they never saw her use drugs, but that she was aware that they did. If Dykehouse ignored her boyfriend's lawbreaking, Myers says, it was because she was in love.
Still, some things remain unexplained. Gresham Detective Tom Walker found that Dykehouse ran as many as 11 police-database checks on three friends with "histories of various drug charges"--including her then-boyfriend and another former Portland reserve cop. The database is for official use only and reveals whether someone has a warrant out for their arrest.
Dykehouse conceded to WW that she conducted some checks but claimed she was merely trying to keep her friends in line. She says it's "humorous" to think she protected Club Halo.
Not only will Dykehouse not face trial, but her resignation halts a pending internal-affairs investigation. "I was going to resign anyway," she says, to make a career change. She plans to travel, then apply to law schools.
Not everyone is off the hook, however. AMR has placed four paramedics--including Dykehouse's ex-boyfriend--on leave while it investigates allegations that include on-the-job drug use.