Tom Shafer


A very important issue that needs to be addressed is public safety. Recently, I was able to sit down with Sheriff Norris to discuss this issue. The Kootenai County Sheriff is contracted by several municipalities to provide law enforcement. Hayden is one of those. Since Sheriff Norris has taken office, he has been a powerful voice in alerting municipalities of the rising costs of law enforcement, and the shortfall of monetary support his office receives from some cities such as Hayden.

Sheriff Norris showed me how the national average for safe and effective law enforcement is 1.5 peace officers per 1,000 people. Hayden is the 16th largest city in Idaho and has a population of over 16,000
people in 2022. That equates to 24 peace officers for Hayden under this standard. Prior to the passage of the Law Enforcement levy in 2022, Hayden reimbursed the Sheriff’s office $322,853 (approximately 6% of its total budget), which provided only 3.5 deputies for the entire city. At present, Hayden is now reimbursing the Sheriff $1,077,000. This only pays for 11 officers, less than half of what we need!

A million dollars sounds like a lot of money. Right? However, in contrast, Hayden’s public works budget is over $2.1 million dollars. Why is Hayden paying twice as much for public works as it spends
protecting its citizens? That is a question that Sheriff Norris asked. That is a question I have asked. That is a question you should ask my opponent since he is in favor of the current budget.

Another question. Why did my opponent and city council NOT scour the budget prior to putting the levy on the ballot last year, which raised taxes by 29%? These are difficult times for many residents. We need fiscally conservative representation on city council that will make the hard choices if necessary and will always keep the safety of residents first and foremost.

Currently, the City of Hayden is not paying for the number of officers we need. My opponent must know this, yet he has voted to change our zoning laws so now they actually increase density.
Encouraging further commercial development and high-density housing will not only exacerbate the
budget problems but will also put Hayden citizens at greater risk. Sheriff Norris said to me, “multifamily apartment complexes generally require more law enforcement than neighborhoods with single-family residences. However, a healthier community involves more home ownership.” I agree with Sheriff Norris.


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