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Kim Edmondson

| May 14, 2020 1:25 AM

Kim Edmondson said her 28 years of experience in the sheriff’s office combined with more than 32 years living in Kootenai County makes her the most knowledgeable of the four Republican candidates for sheriff.

Edmondson is the only woman, and one of four Republicans on the May 19 primary ballot for Kootenai County sheriff.

Her background as a commander in the local sheriff’s office and her years as a community volunteer, board and committee member that include serving as a 4-H volunteer, a fair board member and Kootenai County Republican woman chairperson, she said, gives her a deeper knowledge of the people and issues in the county.

She plans to use her service industry background to broaden the sheriff’s office connection with the community.

“I intend to build excellent relationships with the community, our employees, the Board of County Commissioners, and local law enforcement agencies,” Edmondson said. “I plan to increase our volunteer programs and our Neighborhood Block Watch programs.”

Edmondson, who hails from Cleveland, Ohio, moved to Kootenai County in 1987 to attend North Idaho College and started working for the sheriff’s office five years later as a jailer. She was promoted to jail sergeant in 1997, worked as a patrol officer and was promoted to lieutenant in 2004.

Currently a captain, Edmondson is in charge of investigations as well as the agency’s professional standards division where she oversees background investigations for new hires, as well as internal investigations, and criminal investigations.

Rapid population growth is the county’s biggest challenge Edmondson said, which often translates into issues such as a larger inmate population in the county jail, as well as retention issues as deputies gain experience and move on to better-paying agencies.

“I want to work with the (county) commissioners to develop a pay system that will help us retain experienced employees,” she said. “I plan to implement training and leadership programs to build the future leaders of our organization.”

Edmondson has been criticized for her quick climb from the jail to senior administrator which critics view more as preferential treatment and less a product of merit.

In response, Edmondson points out her accomplishments managing budgets, her role in planning the last two jail expansions. She was a criminal justice instructor at North Idaho College, and holds a variety of law enforcement training certificates. She is a graduate of both the FBI Command College and FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Academy.

Her in-depth knowledge of jail operations is vital in managing what could be another jail expansion given the seeming non-stop growth of Kootenai County, she said.

“My deep connection with our community and my respect for both my organization and the community we serve makes me the best candidate,” Edmondson said. “I know our history and know how our local government works, what our organizational experiences have been, and the struggles and successes we have had as an agency.”