Marine Board Honors Yamhill County Deputy with Officer of the Year

The Oregon State Marine Board has recognized the outstanding efforts by the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office, Reserve Deputy Robert VandeBergh, with the “Officer of the Year” award during their virtual post-season conference held on November 18, 2021.

“Dep. VanderBergh stood up at an important time for Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office marine program,” said Randy Henry, Boating Safety Program Manager for the Marine Board. “He made many contacts and covered a lot of water this last summer. As a relatively new deputy, he surprised us with his enthusiasm and commitment to marine enforcement and education.” 

The award recognizes “exceptional service to Oregon’s boaters in the past year for going above and beyond the call of duty and by demonstrating selfless commitment and outstanding performance in promoting boating safety, effective enforcement of marine laws, providing education,” and other defined criteria.

Reserve Deputy Robert VandeBergh is a vital part of the Yamhill County Marine Program with over 10 years of experience as a reserve deputy for both Washington and Yamhill counties. Deputy VandeBergh graduated from the 2021 Marine Law Enforcement Academy this spring and “hit the water running,” working over 241 patrol hours while continuing to work his regular job. Along with other members of the team, Dep. VandeBergh’s drive and motivation led the Yamhill County Marine Program to more than double their patrol hours, increased boater contacts by 378% and increased citations by 222% from all from the previous year. VandeBergh issued 107 citations for boating law violations this year and was a key part of a successful team that helped revitalize the marine program. Additionally, VandeBergh renovated the boat shed and established himself as a crucial member of the team with his unmatched enthusiasm. 

Dep. VandeBergh was previously recognized with a Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office Life Saving award for actions this year on the Willamette River, and was the primary first responder to three, separate drowning incidents. He also responded to a private floatplane and kayak collision.

“We are grateful to the exemplary efforts by Dep. VandeBergh to help keep boaters educated and safe this year,” said Henry.