GRANGEVILLE After eight years in office and nearly 50 years in law enforcement, Doug Giddings is ready for a third term.
“Most of my life has been spent in law enforcement,” he said in a recent interview. “It’s what I know and it’s what I like. I enjoy helping people.”
Giddings, 71, grew up in California and, after serving in the United States Air Force and doing a tour in Vietnam in combat defense (military police), he finished college. He and his wife, Marilyn, moved to Idaho Falls in 1996.
The Giddings then moved to Riggins, and “this is when he fell in love with Idaho County,” he said.
He began as a probation officer and then went on to work as a patrolman for the ICSO, covering the Riggins area. In 2008, he decided to run for sheriff. He and his wife built a home outside of White Bird where they currently live.
“I felt like Idaho County needed a stronger voice in the sheriff’s department,” he said. “I was and am that voice.”
Giddings said those who know him understand he is a “straight shooter.”
“I tell the truth, straight up,” he said. He understands his approach may ruffle a few feathers along the way, he said, but feels his method has made for a stronger Idaho County law enforcement.
“We have been able to accomplish some really positive things in the department,” he said.
He emphasized he is proud of the “awesome” search and rescue team, building and equipment the department has organized and built up as well as the connections with other agencies that provide backup help. In all, the county acquired more than $250,000 in free equipment, he said, and the building is worth $300,000.
In addition, he feels positive about the student cadet program which is overseen by Lt. Doug Ulmer.
“This has been a popular program with 37 high school students going through it so far,” he said. “It’s well-run and it has been accepted and supported by the students and communities.”
Additionally, during his tenue so far, Gidding’s department has helped raise $50,000 for local food banks by sponsoring the Idaho County Shootout basketball competitions at local schools; he has helped establish overtime pay opportunities for deputies; and has sponsored four separate statewide training opportunities for law enforcement agencies.
Regarding his position on cross deputization with the Nez Perce Tribal Police, Giddings said he supports a “good working relationship with all law enforcement agencies.”
“Deputization rests with each sheriff, and while some counties have cross deputized, during the past eight years I have declined to cross deputize tribal police,” he explained. “There are far more disadvantages than advantages. I think it is not in the best interest of Idaho County residents to expand jurisdiction of the tribal police over all Idaho County residents.”
One area he wants to continue working on is the cross-training in the department.
“For example, our driver’s license and civil department employees are trading off weeks so they each know the other’s job,” he said. “That way, someone doesn’t drive all the way from Elk City to find out there’s no one available for a driver’s license renewal.”
Giddings concedes the sheriff race – and politics in general – can be contentious; however, he plans to continue as he has and run the race true to his character.
“I don’t want to say anything bad about my opponent,” he said. “Those who know me know my character. Those who may not know me as well will hopefully see my character through my actions – by what I do.”
He said presently, regardless of the rumors, the department is running smoothly with a strong leadership team. His reports his office has had 52 felony drug arrests: 13 in 2016, 19 in 2015, 12 in 2014 and eight in 2013.
Gidding’s priorities as sheriff, he said, include protecting citizens’ constitutional rights, operating inside budget constraints by optimizing taxpayer money, maximizing law enforcement capabilities with the available resources for all 16,800 residents covering 8,503 square miles of the county, and to be visible, active, available, and responsive to citizens.
“My main goal is to continue protecting Idaho County citizens’ quality of life,” Giddings said.
Giddings has attended several Mountain View School District 244 board meetings and has vocally supported a school weapons policy as well as providing free firearms and safety training for administration, teachers and staff.
He also said he supported Idaho’s concealed carry legislation and said, “I am in full support of the law.”
Giddings and his wife of 38 years have five children, 14 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He is a lifetime member the NRA, has POST and Advanced POST certification and his past work also includes for the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Department and the Santa Maria Police Department.