One of the functions that the Sheriff’s Office performs is conflict management and resolution for our citizens. We are often called to neighborhoods to help neighbors come to resolutions over dogs, ordinance violations, irrigation water and other problems. Our duty in these situations is to enforce any criminal laws that have been broken, but beyond our requirement of enforcing laws, our focus is to help neighborhoods come to resolutions and protecting our citizens.
We often find that these conflicts between neighbors can grow and lead into numerous new complaints. These types of conflicts make living and enjoying the peacefulness of Payette County very difficult. Our Deputies will come to your neighborhood, meet with all of the parties involved and try to help everyone reach a resolution. Our Deputies handle all situations with the utmost professionalism.
Quite often when we contact neighbors, they ask why the complainant did not contact them before contacting the Payette County Sheriff’s Office. Sometimes this sets a bad tone to the situation before we have even begun. We encourage neighbors to meet with each other when they feel it is safe to attempt to work out conflicts. We also ask that they contact the Payette County Sheriff’s Office before things get out of hand.
The Payette County Sheriff’s Office has used recording devices for decades. As technology has progressed, we have adjusted to it and changed our methods of operations. We used to use pocket recorders that recorded audio on a tape. When digital pocket recorders came out, we transitioned to using digital recorders. We have now transitioned to using digital video body-worn cameras to record all contacts with the public.
Body-worn cameras have become the industry standard for law enforcement officers across our nation. We use the video recordings for both criminal and civil proceedings when necessary. The body-worn cameras are not always pointed in the right direction to catch all of the desired images during a contact with our citizens. Even when the video camera does not show what is going, the audio will still record what is being said.
The videos from the body-worn cameras do take up more hard drive space. There are laws in the State of Idaho that require the videos to be retained. We maintain our videos in compliance with the laws in the State of Idaho. The videos have helped juries understand incidents more clearly. We have sat down with several citizens in the days following a contact to review the videos and talk about things that occurred during the law enforcement contact. These videos are helpful to the administration, prosecution, jury, and citizens. The Payette County Sheriff’s Office uses the videos to monitor our Deputies activities and successfully prosecute cases.
One call that the Payette County Sheriff’s Office handles regularly throughout the year is dogs running at large. We find that Payette County residents often don’t realize that it is illegal to allow dogs to run at large in the county.
Payette County does not have a dog at large ordinance and it also does not have a dog kennel to impound dogs. However, there is an Idaho State law that prohibits dogs running at large. The State law requires that the dog owner be served with a written warning prior to a citation being issued.
If a complainant wants to file a report about a dog at large, there are several things that are helpful for prosecution. If the case was to go to trial, the Payette County Prosecutors Office would like to have evidence that shows the dog was in fact at large. Complainants can help strengthen the case by taking photos or videos of the offending dog when it was clearly off of the owner’s property. In addition to that, we need to know who owns the dog in order to serve them with a written warning or citation. The last critical piece to a dog at large case is that we need a complainant who is willing to sign a citation against the dog owner. If our Deputies do not witness the dog running at large, then they are not able to sign the citation against the dog owner.
Dogs running at large can become a nuisance that causes many neighborhood problems. The Payette County Sheriff’s Office recommends that neighbors talk with each other about these neighborhood problems and see if a resolution can be reached prior to involving law enforcement, if at all possible. Neighbors who are able to reach their own resolution typically live in a pleasant neighborhood. We often see where a dog at large complaint can grow into numerous other complaints from one neighbor to another. Neighbors who are able to talk to each other can often avoid numerous complaints and constant law enforcement involvement.
Citizens from all backgrounds can find themselves being a victim of a crime. Victims do not always have the knowledge of how the criminal justice system works and can find the whole process confusing.
If you think you are a victim of a crime, the first thing you should do is file a report with the law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction where the crime occurred. This could be at your residence or it could be at a separate location in a different jurisdiction (like your work). If you are unsure of where to report the crime, call the Payette County Dispatch Center (208-642-6006 ext. 1146) to find out.
In most instances a Deputy will come to your residence or location to take the report. There are times, due to staffing, call load, or other factors that a Deputy may call and take your report over the phone.
While waiting for the Deputy to arrive, be careful to not disturb vehicle tire tracks, footprints, fingerprints and obvious evidence of the crime. When making a report, be ready to give the make, model and serial number of items that were stolen. Tell the investigating Deputy about items that are out of place, have been moved or don’t belong at your location. You should also point out items of value that were not stolen or damaged. Always include a description of the suspect. If the suspect is unknown, include a list of people that could be suspects.
After the suspect has been charged with a crime, you can track the court process on Vine. Vine is an online resource that notifies victims of the upcoming court dates for a crime. You can sign up for Vine at https://www.vinelink.com/#/home It is also available in the App Store or Google Play Store.
The Payette County Prosecutor has a Victim Witness Coordinator. This person also assists victims in a crime. It is always recommended to contact the Victim Witness Coordinator to introduce yourself. They will help you navigate the legal system along with the Prosecutor as a victim.
Depending on the type of crime, there could be more services available to you. The Sheriff’s Office or the Victim Witness Coordinator can tell you if there are any other services available to assist you. They can give you information on how to contact those other services.
For most of us, we can’t remember the last time that we were in a crash or this may be the first one that you have ever been in. Crashes happen very rarely to each individual motorist, but when it does happen, you need to know what to do. If your car is still functionable, move it to the shoulder of the road. Vehicles that have been disabled in the travel lanes of a roadway are endanger of being hit by oncoming vehicles. It is usually best to stay inside your vehicle. Your vehicle is designed to keep the occupants safe.
Call 911 to report the collision. Dispatch will ask you for your name, phone number, location of the collision, if there are any injuries, ejections, or if anyone is trapped in a vehicle and needs to be extricated out of the vehicle.
Once you have provided this information to dispatch and the first responders have been dispatched, be ready to provide the right information to law enforcement and to the other driver. Idaho State Law requires drivers involved in a vehicle collision to exchange certain information. The information that has to be exchanged is the driver’s name, address and, if available, at the scene of the accident, the operator’s driver’s license, proof of registration, and proof of liability insurance to the person struck or to the driver or person attending any vehicle collided with. Also request their current phone number.
When a Deputy is on scene, they will also help facilitate the exchange of this information. When a Deputy is not present, the easiest way to record the information is to use your cell phone to take a photo of the other driver’s license, registration, and insurance card. It is also recommended that you take photos of all sides of all vehicles that are involved in a collision. If law enforcement responds to the scene to do an investigation, they will also do this. By having your own photos, you can provide them to your insurance company as soon as they ask for them. It can also help reduce insurance fraud when there is no law enforcement investigation done.
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