A retired North Idaho College law enforcement instructor and former Illinois police chief has been appointed to the No. 2 position in the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department.
Edward “Tad” Leach, 61, is replacing retiring Undersheriff Gary Cuff, Sheriff Rocky Watson announced Tuesday.
Leach started part time Tuesday, learning the responsibilities of the position, which include overseeing the department’s 275 employees and managing a $16 million annual budget.
He described his first day as a “whirlwind.”
“I’m hitting the ground running,” he said.
Leach said he is familiar with Watson and the department from the 13 years he spent as an NIC instructor and from serving on the Jail Expansion Advisory Committee.
“At this stage in my life, if it was a department I didn’t think was professional or had severe problems, I probably wouldn’t have wanted to invest my time,” Leach said.
He said there are several challenges facing the department, from an exodus of personnel seeking higher-paying jobs to overcrowding at the jail to a lack of office space in the Sheriff’s Department.
Watson said he appointed Leach to be undersheriff based on his qualifications and experience.
Leach began his career as a police officer in 1971 in Wheeling, Ill., and moved to the Lincolnwood, Ill., Police Department in 1985.
Leach retired as police chief in 1993 and began teaching at North Idaho College. Since retiring from NIC last year, Leach has been doing private consulting work and served as an expert witness in numerous civil and criminal cases.
He and his wife, Sue, have been married 41 years and have four children and eight grandchildren. They live at Mica Bay, south of Coeur d’Alene.
Cuff retires June 8 after 31 1/2 years with the Sheriff’s Department, Watson said.
Cuff is moving to Montana to join his wife, former Panhandle Health District spokeswoman Susan Cuff. She was hired last summer as associate director of the University of Montana Alumni Association.
“It’s been an interesting career,” Cuff said. He worked under four sheriffs during his tenure.
When he started, the department had 50 employees.
Swing and graveyard shifts at the jail were staffed by one jailer.
Leach is a “personal friend,” Cuff said. “I’m glad the sheriff decided to select him.”
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