The Bonner County Sheriff's Office currently has 26 patrol deputies assigned to cover four districts ranging over 1900 square miles. Deputies ensure the public safety for over 40,000 full time residents with an influx of up to 160,000 visitors during the summer months. Patrol deputies are responsible for responding to calls for service, conducting investigations, enforcing traffic laws and county ordinances. Within the patrol ranks there are deputies assigned to the K9 Unit, Dive Team, Emergency Response Team and other specialized units.
The K9 unit began in 1989 with a single dog and handler team. The program has evolved into three teams. Each team is certified in narcotics detection. These teams are used to aggressively pursue narcotic traffickers in Bonner County.
The Emergency Response Team is comprised of ten highly trained and motivated deputies. Each member is selected through a rigorous evaluation process, testing both physical and mental abilities. The team is deployed to handle high-risk situations that exceed the capabilities of regular patrol deputies. A highly trained and dedicated hostage negotiations team also supports the Emergency Response Team.
The Bonner County Sheriff's Office is host to Search and Rescue in Bonner County. Bonner County has 111,400 acres of water accessible to boats, distinct climates and mountainous rugged terrain spanning 1,900 square miles. These areas are visited by people from all over the world for recreation and work. Search and Rescue has approximately 200 dedicated, trained volunteers. Rescuers are trained in rope rescue, extreme snowmobiling, swift water rescue and many other disciplines. For more information, please visit the Bonner County Search and Rescue website at: www.bcssar.org and the Priest Lake Search and Rescue website at: www.plsar.com.
The Bonner County Sheriff's Office is responsible with providing and maintaining a Dive Rescue Team. The team consists of 7 members. The divers train year round in various environments. The divers are trained in boat operations, swift water rescue, ice rescue and crime scene and recovery. The dive team has assisted and trained with the Boundary County Dive Team, Kootenai County Dive Team, Spokane County Dive Team and Search and Rescue. In 2010, divers received a total of 482 hours of training.
Dive Team in drysuits: Walker, Reynolds, Deem and Hemphill
Detective Phil Stella leads Dive Team
EMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAM
The Bonner County Sheriff's Department Emergency Response Team (ERT) is a group of highly trained deputy sheriffs whose main mission is to quickly and safely gain control of high risk situations which have exceeded the resources of patrol responses or that have the potential to do so. ERT also responds to allied agency requests for assistance in serving high risk or dangerous search warrants, armed or barricaded subjects or active shooters.
The Bonner County Sheriff's Office ERT has grown to what is now a 12-man team. The teams are comprised of two entry elements, and one high ground (sniper) element. Along with this organization, several ERT personnel received spcific duties, regarding less lethal usage and shotgun/door breaching, as well as gas and distraction munitions training.
ERT responded to a total of four call-outs in 2010. Two of these call-outs were mutual aid calls, and two were for search warrants. Each operation was successful. The ERT commanders met and consulted on three other possible call-out incidents. This means there is prior meeting and planning for contingencies before ERT is placed on stand-by, or called out if deemed appropriate.
CRIMINAL INTERDICTION UNIT (CIU)
The Criminal Interdiction Unit (CIU) is the newest unit of the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office. The team is comprised of one sergeant and four deputies.
It was formed in June of 2009. Since its formation, it has achieved remarkable success in accomplishing its mission.
The unit will identify, arrest and successfully prosecute repeat offenders and currently active drug dealers operating in Bonner County. CIU coordinates operations with local agencies, citizens, federal agencies and local informants. As a unit, a large emphasis will be placed on narcotics investigations, targeting repeat offenders, and the identification and dismantling of criminal group operations within the county. The quality of life for the citizens of Bonner County will also be a priority as lower level criminals will be sought out and prosecuted. The concept of this unit will revolve around “results oriented policing.”
When narcotics activity, rising crime trends or special problems need to be addressed, the unit will be notified. The unit is a small group comprised of highly motivated officers who address problems through proactive methods and selective apprehension strategies.
The unit will be called to assist and support other agencies within Bonner County that require surveillance or other special investigations or patrol related responses. The unit will look to seize opportunities, as they arise, and will not be bound by specific objectives while working on a day-to-day basis.
Research has indicated that a small proportion of criminals commit a disproportionate amount of crime in the United States. Therefore, a large emphasis will be placed on identifying repeat offenders and/or career criminals who will be targeted by this unit. Violent crime and crimes of a sexual nature will take precedence over other types of offenses.
Traditionally, most police actions have been reactive. The CIU is a proactive team focused on solving problems in the community. Proactive tactics may include, but are not limited to, the use of decoys, surveillance, buy/bust schemes, informant operations and fencing operations. The unit is a proactive team focused on solving problems in the community. The unit will have the ability to gradually broaden the officers’ repertoire of investigative, patrol and undercover infiltration strategies and skills as the team progresses.
The team will not be limited by catch slogan names or specific job stipulations/requirements.