I received this questionnaire from a citizen of Kootenai County.
1. What is the primary purpose of law enforcement?
To preserve the peace, ensure public safety, and uphold the law. Sheriff’s deputies and police officers should believe they are members of the community they serve.
2. Why have you chosen to run as Sheriff in Kootenai County and not elsewhere?
Before joining the race, I researched and interviewed other candidates.
I intended to find a candidate I could support, as I have done in the past. After that, I decided to enter the race. Kootenai County has been good to my family and me, and KCSO needs a strong, honest leader. Our Sheriff must provide the highest quality service possible. Along with that, the Sheriff and his deputies must be peace officers, not just law enforcement officers.
3. If a law was voted in that you thought was unconstitutional would you enforce it or direct deputies to enforce it?
This is a complex issue. There are currently Idaho statutes not enforced because they are unconstitutional. I recently got the city of Coeur d’Alene to stop enforcing part of their city code that was unconstitutional. The Sheriff should not enforce any unconstitutional law but there is a problem we need to acknowledge.
A Sheriff candidate can say whatever he wants. The reality is, citizens should not think electing a strong sheriff solves this problem. In Idaho, the Sheriff’s duties are largely defined by statute. Section 31-2227 allows the Governor to direct the Idaho State Police to act independently of the Sheriff and Prosecuting attorney “When in the judgment of the governor the penal laws of this state are not being enforced as written”. The Governor can even start proceedings to remove the Sheriff. This is why we need to research all candidates for all offices carefully. Virginia is an example of why this is important.
4. It is known within Kootenai County that KCSO has lost a good deal of deputies to other departments. What would you do to improve retention of deputies?
My complete answer is on my webpage, briefly: The problem is not just wages; it seldom is. People don’t leave good organizations; they leave bad managers. I obtained an email through public records request from a former deputy; here is an excerpt:
“Many individuals at the Sheriff’s Office have probably told you that we lose a substantial amount of employees to other agencies due to the wage difference. Although some have left for more money, they are the minority not the majority.”
A copy of this email and my plan can be seen here:
5. Would you support KCSO unionizing?
No. I do not support public-sector unions. I am not against all unions; some provide training opportunities, health care, etc. in addition to collective bargaining. In the private sector, we can choose whether or not to patronize a union business. With public-sector unions, we don’t have a choice of which agency we can use. If they provide poor quality, the community suffers.
6. What to you is the most important quality of a leader?
A natural desire to serve and a choice to lead.
A great leader is willing to perform any task alongside his crew. He maintains poise under pressure. He does not tolerate mediocrity, but will steadfastly defend his subordinates. In short, Good leaders lead, Great leaders inspire.
7. Would you enforce red flag firearm laws?
8. Would you utilize criminal asset forfeiture?
There is no simple answer to this. I am not a fan of civil asset forfeiture because of the abuse that has occurred across the nation.
As a reserve deputy, I once had a spirited discussion with another deputy over this. I disagreed that the $1500 he found in a motorist’s wallet should have been seized. His logic was, “who needs to carry around $1500 in cash?”. I knew it would likely cost more than $2500 to defend that $1500.
While others say there will be no civil asset forfeiture, I will be realistic. We will not make seizures in cases like the example above, but take the following example: I-90 is a well-known trafficking corridor. The KCSO makes a legal stop and discovers the vehicle to be full of drugs with $200k wrapped in plastic bags. The driver has an extraditable warrant from another state and tells the deputies he does not know who owns the money and drugs. No one comes forward to claim ownership of the funds. In this case, yes, we will seize the money.
Another problem is the mismanagement of CAF funds. A former Sheriff’s Captain is suing Kootenai County for wrongful termination. Part of the lawsuit alleges that the KCSO command was warned that a $30,000 payment from forfeiture funds to hire an individual at the Child Advocacy Center might not have been a legal use of forfeiture funds.
The public must trust their Sheriff; I would never allow a questionable seizure to jeopardize that trust. I would not use CAF funds for anything other than public safety and equipment, thereby reducing the burden on taxpayers.
9. What is your favorite book and why?
Skunkworks by Ben Rich. Why? I am a gearhead and a pilot. The book is about the development and testing of the F-117A stealth fighter at Lockheed’s legendary Skunk Works. The outside-the-box thinking of those brilliant scientists and engineers will inspire anyone stuck in the “we have always done it that way” mentality.
10. Would you be willing to give any hint as the type of culture you would foster within KCSO?
Much like I run my business, a family culture. Employees need to be appreciated and valued. This comes from the top. As the leader of the Sheriff’s office, I will personally get to know every employee, including their families. This is the expectation I will set for the Undersheriff and my command staff. I will maintain an open-door policy, and every KCSO employee will have my cellphone number.
11. What is your stance on community protection groups like Oath keepers or a local militia?
They can be valuable assets in times of crisis. I support them so long as they are willing to get properly trained and follow Idaho’s laws. I would call on them for help should we need additional assistance.
12. What is your stance on groups like Antifa and Patriot Prayer?
Any group like these that come to Kootenai County and engage in violence will be dealt with harshly, so they are less likely to return.
13. What is your favorite part of serving in law enforcement?
It was being able to help someone that could be having the worst day of their life.
14. What separates you from every other candidate?
I am not a career cop. Although I have some law enforcement experience, the office of Sheriff requires more than just law enforcement experience. My experience as a reserve deputy, decades of business and administrative skills, effective leadership and sound financial management history along with volunteering in the community, gives me the experience needed to effectively run your Sheriff’s department.
Is there anything you would like to comment on or make a statement about?
Commitment to, and involvement in, the community is easy if you only do it for a few months leading up to an election. Both Sara and I have long histories of service and we have deep roots in the community. We are involved in youth groups, community events, etc. and it takes time to really understand the culture of North Idaho. There is a certain level of commitment I feel toward my home. I am at a point in my life where I can afford to perform this vital act of public service.
The issues and problems facing the Sheriff’s office not unique to law enforcement. Problems of morale, organization, efficiency, and pay are problems faced by every organization and business to some degree. Successful leaders attract good employees. My undersheriff and any outside command staff will be experienced Idaho Peace Officers.
Idaho POST trains our peace officers, but there is something you can’t learn there: integrity. Although experience is good, electing someone just because they found their way to work for the past 20 years does not guarantee getting the best person for the job.
In April of last year, there was an article in Boise about the qualifications required to run for county sheriff. The Idaho Sheriffs Association commented and cited the case of disgraced Lincoln County Sheriff, Renee Rodriguez, as an example as to why the law should be changed. The problem is, Rodriguez was POST certified. He worked for the Blaine county SO, was later a police sergeant and interim police chief in Idaho before becoming Sheriff. From the time he was hired as a detention deputy, he was committing atrocious crimes, of which he is now convicted.
Questions have been raised as to whether other candidates are eligible for Idaho POST certification or might even be de-certified in the future. I want to assure the voters of Kootenai County that I am eligible to be POST certified.
One reason the County Sheriff is elected from among the citizens is that he needs to be accountable directly to you.
On Thursday, March 12, late in the evening, I published a video where I shared some information with you. The first video is back up and can be seen here.
While some were upset, the overwhelming majority of the comments were positive, with many people asking for more information.
To be clear, there are myriad constitutional problems with the way this pandemic is being handled and the time to act was six weeks ago.
Here are some of the things I said in that video and what has happened since:
- I was told, “This is worse than anyone thinks” On 3/12 there were 1630 cases in the US with 41 dead. Today there are over 65,600 cases and 930 dead. Some tests are taking longer than seven days for results.
- The World health organization and the US CDC did a terrible disservice to the world by initially saying this was just the flu. More people died yesterday, 3/23 from Covid-19 in the US than the average number of daily deaths in the US from both traffic accidents and the flu COMBINED.  
- Although basic hygiene is essential to stop the spread of this virus, more will be soon required of us than to just wash our hands. Nothing so far. What needs to happen is to reverse the ridiculous advice against wearing masks. The CDC failed here.
- I’m bringing you this information tonight so that once again, you can have the opportunity to prepare. If you are a daily shopper, you might consider changing that. The following day, President Trump declared a National Emergency. I was contacted by numerous people thanking me for this advice.
- In the near future, as in days, it is very likely that Americans will face national restrictions. Whether that comes in the form of a national address or at the state level, I do not yet know, but you can expect widespread school closures, limitations on public gatherings, travel restrictions in impacted areas, and possible quarantines of very large areas. Nearly every school district in the nation closed in the past ten days, the governors of 18 states, including Idaho as of today, have issued some form of self-quarantine order, using terms such as “stay at home” and “shelter in place.” Governors across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Washington D.C. have each mobilized components of their Army and Air National Guard.
I closed the video with this: “throughout our nation’s history, there have been times where Americans have been proud to comply with burdensome requirements for the benefit of ourselves, our neighbors, our community, and our country. As we charge into this, let us continue the unselfish behavior that Americans are known for.”
It may seem burdensome to adhere to a stay-at-home order or silly to stand on an X while in line at the store, but please consider two people here in Kootenai County that called me last week:
The older man who is the sole caregiver for his disabled wife or the young single mom with an asthmatic three-year-old son at home; they simply CANNOT get infected. If you must go out, please consider how your actions might affect others.
As your Sheriff, some of my personal beliefs would be irrelevant, as the Sheriff’s primary duty is to protect Life, Liberty, and Property. I will share this; I am pro-life. I suppose where I differ from some others is that I am pro-“all human life”, from the unborn to the elderly, friend or foe.
Yes, this is economically painful but, I do not know how to place a dollar amount on human life. Sara and I have a saying; money problems are solvable, what is important is that we have each other and our health.
Friday AM: ISP orders all staff to report for duty.
In preparation for the President’s address at noon today, the Idaho State Police will be deployed throughout the state.
Information I received this afternoon about possible national quarantine.
March 12, 2020 8:00 PM
Please see video below
Ex-WIFE: Grimm for sheriff
March 6, 2020 1:00 AM
There are numerous reasons to vote against the other candidates in the race for Kootenai County Sheriff, but I’m here to tell you why I support and will vote for John Grimm.
I know he has the personality, the intelligence, the common sense and the human decency to fulfill the responsibilities of the county Sheriff. How do I know?
I’ve known John for more than 37 years and we were married for 23 of those. We raised four children and built a successful business together. John is a good dad and our children are doing well as adults (as Mike Pence said about Donald Trump, you can’t fake good kids).
John has been a father figure to the young men in his Boy Scout Troop, as well as others who were in need of a positive male role model. He taught them the value of hard work, honesty and integrity. Given his experience as a Reserve Deputy, I’m certain he will be respected and liked in the Sheriff department.
John understands budgets and finances. Even during lean times, he made sure payroll was met, bills were paid, his family provided for. I could always count on John to make sound financial decisions which is a trait that is especially needed as a public servant.
I know firsthand John is a man who is trustworthy, honest and is committed to serving the people in our community. He doesn’t just say he’s a leader. He is a leader, and is hands down the best choice for Kootenai County Sheriff!
Please take a moment to watch the video below.
UPDATE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 3,2020 3:51 PM
After careful consideration, I, along with two of the four Republican candidates for Kootenai County Sheriff, am declining to attend the Athol Sheriff’s Forum sponsored by Hank’s Law. There are numerous red flags including the host sharing with me in advance the questions she would be asking another candidate. That act alone tarnishes the integrity of the event. Forums are an important part of giving voters personal insight into the candidates and every effort should be made to provide a fair and equitable format.
I look forward to future forums where each candidate can participate on a level playing field to share our ideas on issues and solutions relevant to the office of Kootenai County Sheriff.
Photo courtesy of Melissa Sharon
Luke Sharon is not your average 13-year-old.
I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Luke this week. This young man knows more about Kootenai County politics than most adults. He is genuinely interested in our community. I hope you will encourage Luke in his effort to keep others informed. Please subscribe to his podcast and like his Facebook page.
From what Sara and I saw of Luke and his siblings, his parents are doing a lot of things right.
I’m truly honored to have the endorsement and support of Represenative Vito Barbieri. Vito and I go back over a decade when our children attended Cotillion together. I respect and appreciate him as a friend and legislator. Vito’s confidence in my ability to serve and protect the people of Kootenai County as Sheriff is greatly appreciated and gratifying.
I’m am humbled to have the endorsement and support of Representative Ron Mendive. Representative Mendive is recognized as one of Idaho’s most conservative legislators. Ron is a true Statesman, one whose concern lies with the next generation, not the next election. I am grateful for Representative Mendive and his confidence in my ability to serve and protect the people of Kootenai County.