Wednesday, June 12, 2024

OPINION Sheriff is wrong on this one

| April 19, 2020 1:00 AM

The Kootenai County Deputy Sheriff’s Association (KCDSA) has become much more visible recently as a result of an overwhelming feeling among its members that the time to prepare this organization for growth is now. The KCDSA has a vision for change, and have collectively stood up and spoken out to effect this change. Our voice was heard when we voted to endorse Robert Norris with a clear majority.

The KCDSA didn’t just choose a candidate we liked

The KCDSA conducted an exhaustive, unbiased vetting process prior to a full member vote to endorse a candidate. Proctored debates were held and all candidates were invited. After these debates, in which the majority of candidates participated, Robert “Bob” Norris received an overwhelming majority of the member vote with 55%. The next closest candidate, Kim Edmondson, received 20% of the vote.

After the debate forum, the Association held several town hall meetings with both Norris and Edmondson. At the end of this process, the members of the KCDSA voted overwhelmingly to endorse Robert “Bob” Norris to be their candidate for Sheriff.

It is critical to note that any and all information regarding character of Mr. Norris being able to effectively perform the duties of the elected Sheriff was vetted by the KCDSA and other sources in the community. The vetting process showed Mr. Norris to have good character, integrity, and an honest desire to serve our community.

Unfortunately, false allegations against Mr. Norris have been propagated by people in our community and continue to be paraded as fact. This raises serious concerns about the motives of those propagating these falsehoods, and clearly suggests Mr. Norris’ opponents see him as a clear threat. We exist in an occupation which requires us to not only obtain facts regarding guilt, but also facts exonerating the innocent. The facts from our research exonerated Robert Norris.

Why Robert “Bob” Norris

Mr. Norris has a proven career in leadership. He has worked as a Jail Sergeant and a Patrol Sergeant. He has worked as a Jail Lieutenant and a Patrol Lieutenant. He has managed multi-million dollar budgets, has extensive supervisory, management and leadership training and has worked as the de facto police chief for large contract cities.

Sheriff Wolfinger has been a leader and will leave this department with the respect of all who have worked for him. However, as with all relationships, we cannot expect to agree on everything always.

Kim Edmondson does not possess the experience necessary to lead this department. This point is made absolutely clear when a majority of co-workers (including two prior undersheriffs) who have worked beside her for years voted not to endorse her. Kim Edmondson is a valued co-worker and member, but not the right choice to lead us as Sheriff. It is time for change and a fresh approach to leadership. Leadership which will carry us into and through the challenges facing our department and our community. Challenges like rapid growth, contract cities, resource deployment, and internal office structure. This fresh approach to leadership is Robert Norris.

We stand united in our decision to endorse Robert “Bob” Norris, with the many Law enforcement and Fire professionals to include: Coeur d’Alene Fire Department, Coeur d’Alene Police Department and Northern Lakes Fire.

Kootenai County Deputy Sheriff’s Association

Executive Board of Directors