Now in their second term, Sheriff Steve Harkins and Chief Deputy Fruehling have brought numerous innovative programs to the Blaine County Sheriff's Office. Here are a few of our accomplishments.
We have worked hard to promote excellent morale in our staff by valuing employee input and involvement, providing consistency between teams, clear expectations, and accountability. The Blaine County Sheriff’s Office is comprised of a team of 65 dedicated professionals who serve our community. We are proud of our highly trained staff and value their commitment, teamwork, and contributions to our department.
VirTra Deputy Training Center
We have provided our deputies with a state-of-the-art virtual training center. The VirTra Training Simulator V-100 is a phenomenal tool for de-escalation, use of force, and firearms training. The simulator uses interactive video scenarios to provide our deputies with immediate feedback allowing our instructors to correct critical issues in a realistic stress environment. Every patrol and detention deputy is required to train monthly to reinforce best practices. It makes deputies think about the situations they may encounter, and safely work through them. This valuable investment was purchased without the use of taxpayer funds.
Utilizing a grant from the Idaho State Police in cooperation with the Idaho Department of Transportation, we have instituted a new electronic citation system for both our County Patrol Team and our Ketchum Patrol Team. When a deputy issues a citation, the driver’s license information and the vehicle’s registration information will be scanned into the e-ticketing software using a handheld scanner. The citation is printed out on a small printer and then transmitted electronically to databases maintained by the police and the courts. There are numerous benefits to this new system. It will save time for both officers and court clerks. According to studies, it could cut the time it takes to ticket an offending driver by 80 percent, putting the officer back on the road to patrol. It will allow officers to spend less time pulled over on the sides of Idaho’s roadways, which is an officer safety issue.
Providing Our Team with the Right Tools
- We have worked hard to ensure our staff has the right equipment to do the job by investing in AEDs, Narcan, Trauma Medical Kits, and Lifeloc Breathalyzer Equipment in every patrol vehicle.
- Our deputies have been provided with body cameras, new uniform equipment, and less-than-lethal devices.
- We have implemented a new Computer Aided Dispatch/Records Management System to provide more unified information to all our staff both in the field and in the office.
- Our Search and Rescue Team has been provided with a drone, new snowmobiles, off-road utility vehicles, and an enclosed trailer to increase their readiness to respond and save lives when needed.
- We have developed a Hispanic Liaison Team to foster positive relationships and communication within our community. The team's goals are to build relationships that increase trust between the police and our Spanish-speaking community, decrease the rate of victimization among the Hispanic community, and increase the number who report crimes.
- Our Hostage Crisis Negotiator Team has the only fully certified hostage crisis negotiators in the Wood River Valley. The team's goal is to limit the risk of death or serious injury to officers, hostages, and suspects by communicating in a manner that convinces them to turn themselves in peacefully and achieving a successful and/or tactical resolution to the incident with minimal force.
- We now have a Drug Recognition Expert who is trained in the identification of individuals driving who are impaired by drugs other than, or in addition to, alcohol.
- Our K9 Team assists us with drug detection, drug education, and search and rescue tracking. Our K9 Offurrricers Kimber and Eric promote public education and awareness of our commitment to reduce and prevent drug use in Blaine County.
- Our Drone Program provides the newest technology for search and rescue, accident and crime scene recording, and natural disaster monitoring.
- Our Backcountry ATV and UTV Patrols focus on backcountry safety and off-road vehicle enforcement on U.S. Forest Service, BLM, and public lands within Blaine County including the many campgrounds, summer cabin areas, and recreational trailheads.
- Our Employee Wellness/Fitness Program provides opportunities for our employees to keep healthy and happy.
- We have expanded our presence and relationships in our local schools with our School Lunch Program, the Junior Deputy Program, and Community Policing Programs.