By looking at FBI crime stats and census data, SafeWise ranked Idaho just behind Nevada and Michigan when it comes to how overworked police officers are. The report critiqued the ratio of police to residents, and found there’s one police officer to every 483 residents.
Idaho Sheriff’s Association Executive Director Vaughn Killeen says that ratio isn’t surprising. But he says it can play out more acutely in rural counties, where sheriff’s offices have to cover large areas – and depending on their work load, may have too much on their plate.
“That means their backup is farther away, they don’t have backup deputies to rely upon as quickly as city police officers do. So their risk level I think sometimes is higher because of that.”
Killeen says the disparity between urban centers and more rural parts of the state starts with funding. Rural counties don’t have as big of a tax base to support big departments, while cities like Boise can. The former Ada County Sheriff says even in those places where funding is tight, Idaho’s overall low crime rate is a testament to law enforcement’s ability to do a good job with limited resources.
Find Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill
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