Law Enforcement Forum
Last Wednesday evening, the Teton Valley Chamber of Commerce organized a forum on law enforcement, which attracted approximately two hundred members from the community. The forum touched on who is responsible and in charge of law enforcement and how departmental operations, oversight, and the budget work. The two panels consisted of elected officials in the valley, Idaho State Police representatives, the Community Ombudsman from Boise, citizens, and representatives from local non-profit organizations. The panels answered a limited number of questions from the public.
Of particular interest to VARD was the discussion of how growth has and will continue to impact the Sheriff’s department. Near the end of the night, Reid Rogers, head of Chamber of Commerce, said, “Just about everything that’s been discussed here tonight comes back to whose going to pay?”
In explaining the connection between growth and the Law Enforcement budget, Larry Young mentioned that between 1000 and 1500 lots have appeared on the ground in the last 5 years. “When you think about the burden that puts on law enforcement it’s staggering,” Young said. He went on to explain that state law prevents an increase of more than 3% on the revenue from property taxes each year, and elucidated the problem of having that kind of a cap when the county is growing at 6-7% per year.
Solutions raised during the forum included having multiple avenues by which citizens can file complaints about Law Enforcement, Civilian Oversight of Law enforcement, and a citizen’s panel to advise the County Commissioners about the scope and duties of an animal enforcement officer.