Sheriff Bob Norris Talks About Policing in Kootenai County
Sheriff Bob Norris sits with Idaho Speaks to talk about challenges his department faces in Kootenai County Idaho.
Kootenai County Sheriff Non-Emergency Phone Number: (208) 446-1300
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I’d like to see the sheriff enforce some uniform standards within the organization. The uniform that the sheriff himself wears says: accessible public servant. Many if not most of the deputies wear some version of battle dress all the way down to an odd onesie coverall that makes them look like a cross between Batman and a Luchador. It’s unprofessional and those particular deputies tend to be less than helpful and accessible. If you’ve ever been in a situation where you and a group of guys kit up in BDU, you know the change in mindset that you automatically have and the switch in viewpoint towards everybody else. It fosters the Us vs Them mindset common to law enforcement.
I disagree with the sheriff on the subjects of the jail and revenue. I’ve been here 13 years and that has been the common refrain from both sheriffs and the voters have spoken over and over on jail expansion. On the subject of revenue: every time a new house is built, the tax base expands. The average home in Kootenai County is paying over $500 a year into Justice fund, it never goes down, only up. The number of homes paying that has doubled in my time here so therefore the revenue has doubled. The vast majority of those new homes are occupied by retirees that came here with a bit of money. They are not the primary criminal demographic. Idaho still jails people for simple possession of drugs and I for the life of me don’t understand why we would do that. Destroy the drugs on site, write a ticket for disorderly and move on, provided there is no other offense. You’ll probably free up 100 beds.