Nothing has happened since last spring to change our minds about our endorsements in three North Idaho sheriff’s races.
The incumbents in Kootenai, Bonner and Shoshone counties have proven themselves as professionals and managers and deserve to be re-elected: Republican Pierce Clegg in Kootenai County, Republican Chip Roos in Bonner County and Democrat Dan Schierman in Shoshone County.
The three not only work well together, as they proved during last winter’s floods that devastated parts of North Idaho, but they also have the respect of law enforcement peers and administrators, the FBI and state police.
And they’re honest.
Clegg and Schierman inherited offices caught up in scandal.
Eight years ago, Clegg, then a Democrat, won a landslide victory over two-term Republican incumbent Merf Stalder. In the final weeks of the campaign, the public learned that Stalder caroused with top officers and was involved in an affair with an employee during company time.
Morale was shot.
Clegg has restored order and pride to his department.
In his two terms, he made merit rather than patronage the standard for promotions and new hires.
He has upgraded training.
He started the DARE program, the police dog program and the inmate labor program.
He tried hard to hold the line on the budget, despite a significant increase in Kootenai County crime.
We find his opponent, Democrat Karl Thompson, also qualified to be sheriff. But he’s running at the wrong time against a respected, proven incumbent.
Schierman faced a tougher situation than Clegg when he became sheriff four years ago.
After losing to Schierman by 111 votes in the 1992 Democratic primary, long-time Sheriff Frank Crnkovich fired Schierman, then his undersheriff.
Schierman was an FBI informant in the notorious 1991 gambling raid by federal agents. Crnkovich later faced and beat corruption charges as a result of the raid.
Schierman has done a good job restoring staff morale and community confidence in his office.
Significantly, all Silver Valley police chiefs backed him during his tough primary fight against Democrat Larry Irvine, who was supported by Crnkovich. Neighboring sheriffs also give Schierman high marks for cooperation.
Schierman should be able to exorcise the ghost of the Crnkovich administration with a Nov. 5 win over Independent Tim Castle and write-in candidate Irvine.
In Bonner County, Sheriff Roos easily is the best choice over Democrat Pete Robinson and a write-in candidate.
Roos, president of the Idaho Sheriff’s Association, has brought stability to a department that routinely turned over sheriffs every four years.
Roos spearheaded the successful effort to build a $3.9 million jail, opened a juvenile detention center during his tenure and started an inmate work program and the DARE program.
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