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COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho – Are you intrigued by how law enforcement operates? Do you represent a community group that interacts with law enforcement in some capacity, or simply have a concern about community safety as the region grows? Then Sheriff Robert “Bob” Norris wants you to get involved!
On his first day in office, Sheriff Norris is asking citizens to sign up to take part in the agency’s new “Citizen Advisory Group” – a group that will be kept informed of Sheriff’s Office initiatives as well as provide input, ideas and feedback to the Sheriff’s Office on community safety plans.
Sheriff Norris has been talking about community partnerships for two years as he campaigned for the county’s top cop job. A Citizen Advisory Group is a cornerstone of his plans to ensure stronger relationships between law enforcement and the citizens we serve.
“Our nation is dealing with a lot of stress and strife right now, not the least of which is some of the contentious relations we see in other parts of the country between citizens and the police,” Sheriff Norris said. “Here in Kootenai County, our law enforcement enjoys strong community support. We intend to build on that and engage on a deeper level with our citizens. We want community members to understand and have input into our plans for the future.”
The Citizens Advisory Group will meet with the Sheriff quarterly, or as needed based on current events and needs of the community. Sheriff Norris envisions a combination of “listening sessions” to better understand community concerns and needs. There will be sessions where the Sheriff’s Office presents information about upcoming plans, programs and operations, and solicits citizen feedback.
“Community safety is a partnership. We can best keep the community safe by understanding more clearly the needs of those we serve,” Sheriff Norris said. “What is on your mind related to law enforcement? What would you like to see as priorities for your Sheriff’s Office? Come tell us.”
The Citizen Advisory Group is NOT an “oversight board” as has been seen in some larger cities. It is a group intended to inform, educate and provide a forum for closer relationships between citizens and the Sheriff’s Office.
“I don’t believe in ‘oversight boards’ that utilize citizens who don’t have law enforcement experience to dictate law enforcement operations or policy. That’s not what this is about,” Sheriff Norris said. “This is a group to form a bond with citizens and share information and plans back and forth. We may from time to time ask for input on new policies or procedures we are considering, but this won’t be a group to provide “oversight”. It’s a group to provide input and share information, which I believe is paramount in serving our citizens best.”
Citizens who would like to be considered for the Citizen Advisory Group are asked to download and fill out an application form on the Sheriff’s Office website at www.kcsheriff.com under the “Forms” tab. The application can be emailed to Captain Kim Edmondson at firstname.lastname@example.org. For any questions about the group, you can call Captain Edmondson at 208-446-1315.
“We look forward to getting started and building a strong working relationship with citizens throughout Kootenai County,” Sheriff Norris said.
Sheriff Robert B. Norris
By Sgt. Will Klinkefus