RATHDRUM – Kevin Fuhr is no stranger to North Idaho. Raised in Moscow and a longtime tourist to both Priest and Spirit lakes with his wife and 6-year-old daughter, Fuhr feels at home in the community. But as he begins his tenure as Rathdrum’s newest police chief, he will not be seeing the community through the eyes of a tourist, but as Rathdrum’s newest top law enforcement officer.
It is a career goal that Fuhr, 39, has had for a long time, and he is looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead.
“My goal was to become a police chief and I looked at specific areas (of the country) where I wanted to work,” Fuhr said.
The city of Rathdrum offered exactly what he was looking for. “It is the right size of department,” Fuhr said. Not only that, but it is an area whose population is growing rapidly and, according to Fuhr, is progressive.
As the undersheriff for the past four years in Adams County, Wash., Fuhr served a community similar in size to Rathdrum. Prior to working as undersheriff, Fuhr worked for the Adams County department as a patrol officer and detective.
Fuhr replaces Bob Moore, who served as Rathdrum’s police chief for the last 30 years and retired at the end of January.
When talking about his immediate goals for the Rathdrum Police Department and the community in general, Fuhr stresses communication as his top priority.
“My goal is initially to get to know the staff and the community and see what they think is working and what changes they think need to be made,” he said. “I want to establish a rapport and to let them know we all have the same goal.”
In order to meet as many people as possible, Fuhr plans to attend meetings at the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary and other local organizations shortly following his arrival.
“But on the same note,” he said, “I want to encourage the citizens who may not be members of those groups to come by (the department) and take a few minutes to meet me.”
While Fuhr realizes it will take time in his new job as chief before he can assess his long-term goals, he knows some issues will inevitably arise and will need to be addressed sooner rather than later. Most of those, he said, are associated with a growing population.
“There will be more revenue,” Fuhr said, “so things like technology should increase not just in the Police Department but citywide.”
Fuhr also recognizes that with growth comes growing pains. An increase in population usually goes hand in hand with a rise in crime. But he is firm in his belief that by listening not only to his employees, but the entire community, he will be able to better serve those in the community who will depend upon his leadership.
In Adams County, Fuhr said he worked hard to build moral within the department as well as to help improve technology. Unlike North Idaho, Adams County has a large migratory population which resulted in an increase in crime during the migratory seasons which provided additional challenges.
But it is not only Fuhr’s experience in the field that makes him a qualified person for the job as police chief, it is also his training.
For the first three months of 2006, Fuhr attended the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va. It was an experience that has proven to be valuable in his position as undersheriff and will surely assist him in his job as chief.
“It is an 11-week academy that is devoted to improving leadership within law enforcement,” Fuhr said. The six courses he took while attending the Academy included media relations, leadership, human behavior, legal issues, criminology and health.
“The training has been very helpful in my current position and will continue to be useful in my future endeavors,” said Fuhr.