KOOSKIA – Longtime Idaho County Sheriff’s Office deputy, Doug Ulmer, is looking to take the next step. Last week, the Kooskia resident formally announced his candidacy for Idaho County Sheriff, which will come up for election next year.
“I feel that at this time in my life I have the experience,” Ulmer said, who after discussing the matter with his wife, Tina, and family, decided to take this next step in his career. Currently a lieutenant with the department, Ulmer has about 32 and one-half years working for ICSO.
“I have a lot of ideas I want to work on I think I can pull off,” he said, “and make this work really well.”
Ulmer will be running on the Republican ticket. Candidate filings for the 2020 race open March 2, and the primary election will be May 19. Ulmer is getting a 10-month start on the election to put his face out before the public and meet with constituents.
“In Idaho County, usually the race is decided in the primary election,” he said, and were he to start his campaigning that March, he would only have a couple of months to do so during a time with few community activities to participate in. “I’m giving this 110 percent. I’ll be at the celebrations, I’ll be at events, I’ll get out and answer people’s questions.”
Ulmer was born in Grangeville and raised in the Kooskia-Kamiah area, graduating from Kamiah High School in 1985. Following, he studied law enforcement at the College of Southern Idaho, went to work for the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office under then-sheriff Don Fortney for a year and a half. In 1989, he came to work for ICSO and has worked for sheriffs Randy Baldwin, Gene Meinen, Larry Dasenbrock and currently, Doug Giddings.
“Through the years, I’ve been involved in everything,” Ulmer said. He started in the jail and went on to be a patrol deputy. During his more than three decades with ICSO, he has been in charge of detective and patrol divisions, and has investigated a wide range of crimes – including narcotics and homicide – and worked on search and rescue, and emphasis patrols. The nature of a small law enforcement department, he explained, means you’ll be doing many things, and as well, getting as many calls and personal contacts for service as you do through the dispatch center.
“In Idaho County, that is life, and if I can help someone, well, that’s my job. I’ve always looked at it that way, and that’s the way it’s going to continue,” he said.
As sheriff, he wants to improve the business process within department divisions, establishing those responsible and emphasizing focus on running these areas. With 8,500 square miles to cover, search and rescue is another issue, which Ulmer hopes to improve through involving outdoor organizations – four-wheeling, horse, snowmobiling – with their expertise to assist in finding those who are lost.
“There’s a lot of drug use around, and we’re getting a lot of calls,” Ulmer said, with the need to focus, specifically on those using and selling methamphetamine. “Those are the same ones helping themselves to your stuff,” he said, noting this drug activity extends into other crime such as theft and burglary.
“Enforcement definitely has its place, but a huge piece I’m concerned about is community policing,” Ulmer said. He wants patrol officers in their cars less and interacting with community members more -- in the schools, at community events – and making contacts. “It gets down to interacting with people more,” he said. “It’s important that people feel comfortable with you, that they can trust you.”
Ulmer has served on the Idaho County Republican Central Committee, Kamiah Credit Union Board, and currently serves on the Kidder Harris Highway District board of commissioners. He and his wife also have an Inland Cellular business, and she is part-owner in Central Idaho Agency.
The couple has three children – Garret, Kyndahl and Madison – all attending college for various medical-related programs (nurse practitioner, physical therapy and RN, respectively), and will all graduate in December 2020.