KEEP THEM ALIVE ON HWY 75
Please be aware that starting October 30, 2013 a new day/night time speed limit has been imposed North of Hailey. Hwy 75 North of Hailey from McKercher Blvd. to Zinc Spur now has a 55 MPH day time s
peed limit and a 45 MPH night time speed limit
. The reduced speed limit is intended to allow drivers additional time to identify wildlife on or near the roadway and reduce both reaction time and stopping distances to decrease the number of collisions with wildlife.
Understanding the Problem
Collisions with deer and elk occur at a regular rate along State Highway 75 through the Wood River Valley. Every year dozens of animals are struck by vehicles, reducing the local herds and causing thousands of dollars in vehicle damage, and potential injury to drivers and passengers.
A study of crashes in the 2.5 mile section north of Hailey showed more than 50% of crashes involved wildlife with most in dark conditions. This is one of the most significant areas for wildlife crossings and fatalities.
Like humans, wildlife follow familiar routes in their travels for food, water, and seasonal migrations. Unfortunately their travels include crossing State Highway 75 on a daily basis through the busiest sections of roadway between Hailey and Ketchum.
Let's work together to reduce wildlife/vehicle collisions on Hwy 75
Drive Carefully-The results of a Blaine County Highway Wildlife Mortality study identified the "hot spots" on State Highway 75 where wildlife crossing and fatalities are most prevalent. Be aware of these hot spots and slow down when passing through them, especially at night when visibility is poor.
Obey Speed Limits-Notice any speed limit reduction requirements along the highway and make sure you slow down. Reductions in the speed limit are there for your safety and to preserve wildlife.
Be Alert-Be alert for animals and ask your passengers to do the same. Slow down when you see them as they can run onto the road without warning.
Keep the Hot Spot Map in your car-Have the map handy and review it before heading out on the highway. Make sure you note where deer and elk cross. It is important to be prepared.
-Visit the Blaine County website www.blainecounty.org
under "Hot Topics" to learn more about wildlife crossing on Idaho 75 and throughout Blaine County and how you can be part of the solution.
BE AWARE--DRIVE WITH CARE
Emergency Operations Center (EOC): Lessons learned from the massive Castle Rock Fire of 2007 identified a multi-jurisdictional need to establish a Blaine County Emergency Operations Center. Initially the plan was to create a mobile EOC which could be set up where ever needed. However, with the building of the Public Safety Facility, a permanent EOC was also established, with support locations located in other areas within the county campus. Equipment was funded by Home Land Security grants, PSF budget and the FF&E budget. This permenant EOC was created to ensure the county's ability for quick emergency response as during a crisis time is of the essence and being prepared can make the difference in saving lives. Additionally the County identified a vital need to train and maintain the ability to set up and tear down the EOC quickly and accurately, test and identify shortcomings, and be prepared to go mobile with the EOC if necessary to protect the citizens of Blaine County. Developing a County-wide Emergency Operations Plan is a complex and ongoing process involving numerous stakeholders, agencies, and departments. As part of this process, this past year the Blaine County Sheriff's Office planned, facilitated and completed an EOC training with the Bureau of Homeland Security and key staff members from the Recorder’s Office, Ketchum Police, and Sheriff Administration. The training was focused on the Web EOC software program offered by the State which provides a situational awareness of the essential roles in a major EOC situation.
In conjunction with Blaine County Disaster Services Coordinator Chuck Turner and the County LEPC group a new smart-board and a computer was purchased to enhance our EOC capabilities and with the expert assistance of the County I.T. department we have “stood up” and tested all of the equipment for the Emergency Operations Center.
We continue to work to
develop and institute a training plan, test the equipment and establish who and how each step will be accomplished using the Emergency Operations Plan as a guide. The final step of the training plan will be to organize and schedule annual staff training so that questions and issues can be worked out prior to an actual emergency and staff is prepared to act. The Blaine County Sheriff's Office is dedicated to emergency preparedness and is working towards a complete and updated Blaine County Emergency Operations Plan.
Training Accomplishments:Law enforcement is a very specialized skill set which requires us to be prepared for anything at any moment. While we are very proud that our staff is equipped, trained and well prepared to protect the citizens of Blaine County, it is an area where we must remain vigilant. Our officer training program is crucial to maintaining this professionalism. The FTO process is a 12 week intense one-on-one training that helps train our new officers for the many challenges ahead and gives them the tools to be able to make good decisions in the field. Our training program allows us to plan, prepare and respond to the economic, social and environmental changes that affect our community. We strive to keep our Command Staff up to date on the changing trends in law enforcement and adapt our training as necessary to maintain this professionalism. We seek out grant funds to assist in this training as they become available. The following is a synopsis of our training accomplishments this year:
a) Active Shooter Training: We continue to provide Active Shooter training to both our current and all our new patrol staff to increase their preparation for this type of very dangerous unplanned incident. Should we have an active shooter incident at a school or any other location in Blaine County, it is imperative that our deputies are prepared to respond and engage the active shooter by attempting to isolate the situation rather than wait for our specialty team and run the risk of further causalities. We have seen the horrific results of other communities that did not prepare for this situation.
b) Hostage Negotiator Training: We continue to develop our Hostage Negotiation Team and have added additional members to this highly specialized unit who can be activated should the need arise. With the number of internationally famous visitors our County hosts annually, we feel it is incumbent to be prepared for such a situation.
c) EOC Training: Some deputies have completed training from Texas A&M University on EOC Operations and Planning for all hazards.
d) Field Training Officer: As we continue to develop our Field Training Officer Program, we have combined all of the branches of the Sheriff’s Office into one FTO team to maintain consistency in our training program. This team is dedicated to setting clear employee performance and evaluation standards and strives, not only to uphold these standards but, to exceed them.
e) S.E.R.T. (SWAT) Training: As a result of having running gun battles within the city of Ketchum and through the County during the Odiaga shootings we developed and have maintained an effective S.E.R.T. (Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team) to better handle high risk critical incidents. Virtually unheard of in small communities at the time of its inception, our capabilities have kept the County safe for almost three decades. The Sheriff’s Office continues to maintain a group of officers capable of responding to emergencies outside the normal response of typical law enforcement. The Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team (SERT) trains 16 hours per month and one week a year to maintain their response capabilities to deal with lethal weapon situations that may threaten the life or safety of the citizens of this County.
f) Narcotics Operation Training: As illegal narcotics continue to be a problem in Blaine County and across the nation, we continue to train our officers and detectives to be able to effectively investigate, safely arrest and successfully aid in the prosecution of drug dealers.
g) Problem Based Domestic Violence Training: This training was brought to Hailey in order to update all of our patrol deputies on the current trends in domestic violence training. It included a review of recent changes in investigation requirements and state statutes, and required all participants to partake in scenario situations to enhance officer safety in this extremely hazardous type of call for service.
h) Suicide by Cop Training: Blaine County Sheriff’s Office Chaplain and National Critical Incident Stress Management Team Member Tito Rivera was able assist Idaho State Police Region 4 Chaplain Jim O’Donnell in teaching a Suicide by Cop training. This training provided officers with information to be able to potentially identify and handle situations in which a subject may be interested in killing themselves or placing themselves into a situation in which an officer is forced to use deadly force to protect another person or even themselves. This training also discussed what to look for in fellow officers and friends or family members who may be struggling with thoughts of suicide.
i) Critical Incident Task Force Training (CITF): This training was taught by local officers who are members of the Region 4 Critical Incident Task Force Investigation Team. This training introduced officers to the protocols in place should a critical incident, like an officer involved shooting, occur.
j) Crash Scene Safety Training: The Idaho State Police presented training on the importance of crash scene safety to local law enforcement, fire, EMS, and transportation employees. This training stressed the importance of managing a safe crash scene for all first responders, while maintaining traffic flow and/or re-opening the highway at the soonest practical chance to provide as little disruption to the normal traffic flow as possible.
k) Child Abuse Training: During this training, officers were given a more in-depth look at the relationship between domestic violence and the corresponding sexual abuse which commonly accompanies it. Officers were trained on how to better question and follow-up with both victims and suspects in domestic violence calls, as well as how to handle stalking calls which may evolve into sexual assault cases. The re-creation of a county Child Abuse Response Team (CART) was discussed and is presently being organized.
700 Megahertz Communication Plan: Through multiple grants, the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office has been responsible for the purchase of 80 portable and 20 mobile 700 MHz radios for patrol personnel comprising the five law enforcement entities within Blaine County: Bellevue Marshal’s Division, Ketchum Police Division, Blaine County Sheriff’s Office, Hailey Police, and Sun Valley Police. Three of the four repeaters sites which make up the “backbone” of the new 700 MHz Interoperable Shared Radio System are complete and have received all licensing necessary to execute the Interoperable Emergency Communication Plan. The Sheriff’s Office has assisted fire interoperability by providing at least two 700 MHz portable radios to each fire department within Blaine County: Bellevue Fire, Carey Fire, Hailey Fire, Ketchum Fire, Sun Valley Fire and Wood River Fire and Rescue. This new radio system has enhanced the communications between agencies and will keep the emergency entities better informed and communications more secure.
Compliance with Idaho Jail Standards: In December of 2011 the Blaine County Detention Center was awarded its third consecutive Idaho Jail Standards Compliance Certificate from the Idaho Sheriff’s Association. In our former jail we were in operational compliance for many years but not in facility compliance due to the limitations of the physical building. We are now 1 of 25 Jails in the State of Idaho (out of a total of 37) that are in complete compliance with the Idaho Jail Standards. We work hard to maintain these standards and keep both our staff and our inmates safe and secure.
Cognitive Behavioral Change Programs: In July 2009 the Blaine County Sheriff's Office was awarded $127,500 for a Byrne Recovery Act Grant for inmate programs over three years. The Cognitive Behavioral Change and Re-entry Tools grant is based on implementing a 4 pronged group treatment program to address the common root cause of incarceration: alcohol, drugs, anger management, personal conscience and illiteracy. Our Programs include Drug and Alcohol Education, Anger Management, Moral Recognition Therapy, and Literacy/GED Prep. The primary objectives are to increase pro-social behaviors and re-entry tools to help inmates become stable, employable members of the community. The programs started in October 2009 and are taught by certified instructors. Inmate participation is on a complete volunteer basis and we have waiting lists for each of the classes. These programs are fully funded by the grant and are at no cost to the inmates or the County. We are proud to have the most extensive inmate programming for a county jail in the State of Idaho. Our staff has noticed inmates using the skills learned in these programs on a daily basis to avoid conflicts, make better decisions, read more books and prepare to get their GED. We have noticed that the number of inmate conflicts, fights and problems have decreased since the start of the programs. We are very proud and pleased with the programs that we have created and their success.