There but for the grace of God….
Last week’s shooting of an off-duty Nez Perce Tribal Police officer was shocking. That’s not something we normally see around this region. Sure, we have plenty of hands-on violence, but people out literally gunning for other people is, thankfully, rare.
Rare, yes, but not unheard of, Idaho County included. Last Wednesday’s incident in Lewiston brought back to mind our area’s own shocking officer-related shooting incidents.
Eleven years ago, then-deputy Jim Gorges, Idaho County Sheriff’s Office, was shot at his Kidder Ridge home by a Douglas G. Wood of Kamiah. Wood hitchhiked and was dropped off nearby, walked up to the home, knocked on the door and when Cpl. Gorges answered, Wood tried to force his way inside and shot the deputy with a .38-caliber handgun. Gorges returned fire, wounding Wood. Georges recovered, returned to duty, and he currently serves as undersheriff. Currently, Wood, 52, is incarcerated at Idaho State Correctional Institution in Boise – on this charge and for subsequently assaulting a deputy while recovering in the hospital -- and he will be eligible for probation in 2039.
In 2010, ICSO Deputy Fred Carey was injured in an exchange of gunfire with a suspect, Curtis Scrivner, who had been sought for days on a felony warrant out of Colorado. Scrivner was found outside Riggins up the Salmon River Road and opened fire on deputies walking toward him. During the exchange, Carey was hit, and shortly after Scrivner was shot by officers and died at the scene. Carey recovered and returned to duty.
Threat of injury or death is what hangs over police officers as they roll out to serve and protect. Last year saw a 12 percent increase in the number of officers who died on the job, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Firearms-related fatalities were the leading cause of officer deaths, with 52 officers shot and killed in 2018. In comparison, 46 officer firearms-related deaths were reported in 2017.
Our thanks and also our prayers go out to the police officers who serve our communities, patrol our highways, backroads and campsites. We appreciate the men and women who put it on the line for not just their neighbors, but for the anonymous public, and we ask you to show your appreciation to them, and to encourage them of their value.