In Coeur d’Alene, happenings at the county jail are handled a little differently than one might expect. Despite the Kootenai County jail and the county sheriff’s office being physically connected, as well as being operated by sheriff’s employees, it is the Coeur d’Alene Police Department that is responsible for responding to incidents within the jail – not the sheriff’s department. Why? Because the facility is located within the Coeur d’Alene city limits, which makes them responsible for such occurrences as well as accompanying paperwork per city code. Outside agencies typically intervene only for the most serious of incidents.
The decision to place the jail within city limits was likely made long ago to link up with city services such as water and sewer. However, the police department is finding themselves spending time responding to these calls at the jail which could be better spent serving the community elsewhere, ideally leaving the sheriff’s department who is already onsite to handle any issues.
One way of resolving this inefficiency is to de-annex the facility out of Coeur d’Alene, while restructuring another agreement to maintain local services onsite. The county would stand to save more than $100,000 in building and permit fees otherwise owed to the city should that happen. So far, talks have progressed with full support of the de-annexation from local board members, and an additional proposal for a major expansion at the jail facility has also made headway.