A Matter of Qualifications
By Morris Jaskula
In response to the Coeur d’Alene Press article “Jones exits sheriff’s race, backs Norris; There were three notable quotes by Mr. Jones. First, that Norris is most qualified because he “managed contracts for the LA County Sheriff’s Office”; Second, “There’s a lot of problems with the sheriff’s office and an insider is not the answer;” Third, “Whitehead hasn’t done anything that’s equivalent.” With all due respect to Mr. Jones, he obviously hasn’t done any research. With just a little bit of research anyone can find (sheriffrick.com) and (norris2020.com). What I found:
Mr. Whitehead has over 40-years’ experience in Law Enforcement achieving the rank of Captain in the Travis County Sheriff’s Office, an agency 5x the size of Kootenai County. As a Sergeant he designed a Field Training Program that is nationally recognized and is 1 of 3 listed on Wikipedia (Field training program – The Programs) of which he formed a training firm around and now instructs public safety professionals internationally through his firm (rickwhitehead.com).
In addition to providing training and designing training programs (Post Falls PD uses a Leadership program he crafted specifically for them) he consults with agencies across the country in high profile cases in relation to Deception Detection. He earned a statewide leadership commendation for solving a retention/attrition issue exactly like the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office faces today. He designed a longevity based Pay Scale for the office that is still in use today.
During a time of explosive growth in Austin TX, he led all aspects of the Sheriff’s Office to include: Homicide, SWAT, Intelligence, Crime Lab, and Dispatch. He has been Incident Commander for large scale events and natural disasters like the ROT Rally, tornadoes, and hurricanes. He has been instrumental in crafting contracts for various collaborative efforts versus “managing” them. During his last year with Travis County he earned another Leadership Commendation for being the Planning Chief and then Incident Commander for his collaborative efforts and leadership for an event called “Aquapalooza” on Lake Travis.
Upon arriving in Idaho in 2011 he was quickly recognized by Idaho Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) (the licensing agency for ID peace officers) for his curriculums and instructional abilities to the extent that he is the only person, outside active ID personnel, the ID POST has recognized as a subject matter expert in Leadership, Field Training, and Forensic Investigations.
Besides “managing contracts” Norris’ accomplishments aren’t to be found and I didn’t look at Edmondson due to Jones’ quote on not needing an insider.
Now this just being my opinion, I would say Mr. Whitehead is very well qualified and the only candidate that has actually solved the issues facing the Kootenai County Sheriff’s today, based on my research.