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ACHIEVEMENTS

Steve Harkins

Agency Accomplishments

 

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 recent accomplishments:

  • Patrol Team Transparency: The Patrol Team is made up of both county and Ketchum deputies and detectives. We have seen notable increases in service calls, investigations, and traffic-related needs this last year. In 2023,  BCSO deputies responded to over 19,000 calls for service. As Blaine County's population and visitors have increased, it has created a higher demand for local emergency services. Our website now provides monthly and annual Activity Reports for those interested in the agency’s statistics.

  • Drug Enforcement: Sheriff Harkins has always made drug enforcement a top priority in his administration. With the alarming rise in fentanyl and heroin across the nation, the Sheriff and 14 deputies attended a training by the DEA and the U.S. Attorney's Office that discussed new trends and the potential impacts of these terrible illegal drugs in Blaine County. The Blaine County Narcotics Enforcement Team which is run by the Sheriff's Office is actively investigating drug traffickers.

  • Standards and Training: We understand the need to be creative, be more efficient, and improve services within current means and funding. It is well known that law enforcement recruitment and retention are challenging across the nation. BCSO is fortunate to currently be down only a few positions. Despite challenges, it is a priority of our administration to maintain departmental hiring and training standards. Deputies receive ongoing specialized and advanced training including with our state-of-the-art Virtra Training Facility which allows officers to learn de-escalation techniques and tactics in simulated high-stress situations. Patrol deputies receive specialized training in topics such as drug investigations, firearms, arrest and control techniques (ARCON), leadership, active shooter, domestic violence, and interview techniques. Detention Deputies receive specialized training in firearms, restraint methods, taser, leadership, JTO, ARCON, defensive tactics, and PREA liability. BCSO is committed to providing the best training and equipment to deputies possible to protect and serve our community.

  • Rapid Response Training: Recent events across the country have taught us that not only must our deputies be trained and prepared for threats in schools, public places, and gatherings, but that these events can happen anywhere. We have sent five deputies to attend the Active Attack Integrated Response Courses and become instructors in various subjects. This program addresses the principles and technical aspects of responding to and implementing an integrated first responder deployment to an active attack event. This response protocol is the standard for American law enforcement, fire departments, and emergency medical personnel and is proven to save lives.

  • Backcountry Patrols: Every summer we perform over 200 hours of backcountry patrols on US Forest Service, BLM, and public lands within Blaine County. These patrols include many of the campgrounds, summer cabin areas, and recreational trailheads. The focus is on backcountry safety, off-road vehicle enforcement, and welfare checks. Deputies perform these patrols using patrol vehicles, ATVs, and UTVs. The backcountry patrol program always receives very good feedback from the public we encounter. This program is a seasonal continuation of our winter snowmobile patrol.

  • Ketchum Field Days: The Ketchum Patrol Team continues our long tradition of community involvement with our 12th annual Field Day at Hemingway Elementary School. We also bring our community and law enforcement together in our annual Bike Rodeo and Wagon Days events. Maintaining a close relationship with the public and our local schools has always been a priority. When schools, our community, and law enforcement work together, we can achieve positive outcomes.

  • School Liaison Deputies: Two school liaison deputies have been assigned to provide both Hemingway Elementary and the Carey School with a primary point of contact to assist with school-related matters. The purpose of this position is to build and maintain mutually beneficial relationships, facilitate communications, and coordinate activities between our department and the schools.

  • Hispanic Liaison Team: Our Hispanic liaison team continues to work 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 of those who report crimes. By attending community meetings and events, this team hopes to increase the frequency of collaborative interactions between law enforcement and the Spanish-speaking community, promote cultural competency training as part of a standard training program, and brainstorm strategies to reduce language barriers.

  • Detention Center Revenue: The Blaine County Detention Center, which houses up to 90 inmates, is one of those teams. Since it was built in 2008, the Detention Center has generated approximately $9 million in revenue to help offset the operational costs, $5 million of which has been generated by Sheriff Harkins and his teams. The majority of this revenue is derived from housing out-of-county inmates. Since he became Sheriff in 2017, Harkins has committed to the taxpayers and county commissioners to operate the jail facility in the most efficient, effective, and fiscally responsible way possible under the statutory requirements.

  • Jail Inspection: Each year we are required to pass a Jail Inspection and certification with the Idaho Sheriff’s Association in partnership with ICRMP and the Idaho Jail Standards. The ISA Inspector continues to praise our professional staff and the management and cleanliness of our facility. We have established a reputation for being very respectful and friendly, and our ability to show patience when dealing with difficult inmates.

  • Community Connectivity: Social Media is a major part of our Community Outreach. We currently have almost 26,000 followers on Facebook, almost 1,600 on Twitter, and 1,600 on Instagram. We communicate public safety information and operational services information to our citizens efficiently, effectively, and promptly to optimize public accessibility to county services and information.

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