Thursday, December 08, 2022

PRESS ENDORSEMENT: Vote 'yes' for Hayden public safety

| October 30, 2022 1:00 AM

There are several good reasons for Hayden residents to approve a public safety levy request on the Nov. 8 ballot.

The most obvious is that the measure would more than double Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office deputies’ feet on Hayden ground. Only four deputies are now assigned to the city of more than 15,000; approval of the levy would add six more, including a school resource officer.

Another is because a 15-member, independent citizen task force studied the community’s needs and, after four months of diligent work, unanimously recommended the law enforcement boost. That's verification it's needed, not just tomorrow but now.

But one of the best reasons to vote “Yes” is to support our dedicated officers with enough resources to improve not just their effectiveness, but their safety as well.

With just four deputies responsible for 24/7/365 coverage, they’re exposed to unnecessary dangers by having to fly solo. Adding sufficient staffing will dramatically increase officer safety while improving work conditions.

Nobody put that better than Tanner Cox, a Hayden resident addressing the City Council on Aug. 23. Cox was speaking strictly as a resident of the city, but his words carried additional weight because Cox is also a Kootenai County sheriff’s deputy.

"What does the blue line mean?,” he asked that night. “You see it on a million different cars… You see people with 'blue lives matter' stickers and 'support local law enforcement.’

"That means nothing if you're not willing to support us where we need it. To fly the flag but to not back it and put your money where your mouth is doesn't help me, it doesn't help the officers, it doesn't help their families."

Cox said that if voters don't support the levy and fund the police, that's defunding the police.

"So take your stickers off your car,” he said, “because you're not helping."

Hayden residents, The Press editorial board encourages you to improve safety for yourselves and your family; for your neighbors; for your community’s businesses; for local school children and school staff; and, yes, for the law enforcement officers themselves. For less than $7 a month on a half-million dollar home, you can accomplish all of the above.

Please vote “Yes” on the Hayden base budget increase for law enforcement.

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