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Sheriff separate from commissioners

October 16, 2012
In reference to the "Sheriff should report."

Remember your history/government classes? The chief of police is under the direction of the city council and not elected. The sheriff is separate from the county commissioners and does not need to report to them. Remember judicial, legislative and executive branches? The sheriff is executive branch. The commissioners are legislative and the judges are judicial. This is the basis of our constitution that no group can run another and they keep checks and balances on each other.

I agree it would be easy to do. Swift Justice has been part of the sheriff's office for at least 12 years when I worked in Boundary County. But I don't think we want a situation where the commissioners run the law enforcement in the county or even appear to run the sheriff's office. The commissioners do hold the purse strings as they do for every other county entity. The sheriff does become accountable for his budget and there are hearings by the commissioners during budget times where the commission hears reports from the sheriff. I don't believe the sheriff's budget has gone over budget since before I started to work there in 1996.

A good idea would be to have the sheriff report to the people with facts and numbers but reporting to the commissioners starts to show that the Commissioners run the Sheriff's Office when the commissioners should not run the sheriff's office.

As for the ambulance service reports should happen because it is under the commission's right hand.
Don Alt
Bonners Ferry
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