As of Tuesday, August 14, 2018
The recent controversy with City of Kooskia and the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office is a good example of the importance of maintaining open communications.
“Had a conversation happened from either side,” it was stated at last week’s council meeting, this situation – the month-early ending of law enforcement services for the city, and a continued contract in limbo – could have been avoided.
For the city, its decision to establish a “police department” in name only — to allow two of its employees to maintain their law enforcement credentials and provide code enforcement — should have also included notification to the sheriff’s office, and not only to the Idaho POST Council. Better yet would have been a conversation in advance to ICSO, stating the city’s intent to handle such calls that would free up local deputies to address more important matters.
For the sheriff, to not be informed directly and find out through other parties of this decision could come across as discourteous and disrespectful. Embarrassing too, as how would you like to find out about your spouse divorcing you through a stranger on the street? But as was mentioned at the meeting last week, all it would have taken is a call: “Is this true? Will you be ending the contract with the sheriff’s office?” It can be hard to do, but setting aside the personalities and keeping it to business can head off problems or avoid aggravating existing ones.
It’s apparent this issue will continue, as the city has expressed interest in continuing the contract but that it can’t afford the increased rate ICSO is requesting, and mayor Charlotte Schilling has expressed her frustration in what she feels is a continued lack of listening to her by the sheriff.
In the aftermath of all this stirred controversy, this is the time for the city and county to set aside the personalities and insults, to visit and have a conversation on the law enforcement services contract. We can forgive the players in this for being human and acting out of emotion, but the show is over now, and these public officials and governmental entities need to get back to the business of representing and serving the public.