Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Who's in the Dark in Coeur d'Alene?

On Wednesday, May 18, 2005, The Spokesman Review staff writer Cynthia Taggart bylined an article headlined Program bridges gap for convicts. The article outlined the efforts by some residents of Coeur d'Alene to provide temporary transition housing for convicts as they are released from prison.

Last year when residents of Coeur d'Alene Place used the term "transitional housing" to describe the living arrangements of four convicted felons still on state-supervised probation or parole living together in one house in Coeur d'Alene Place, the Coeur d'Alene city government declined to enforce the city's zoning ordinance that would have required at least a special use permit (and therefore a public hearing) for this use of housing in the city.

Yet Cynthia Taggart's article clearly shows that the Empowering People in Communities (EPIC) project creates transitional housing. The State Department of Correction, Probation and Parole, offers male convicts the EPIC transition homes as an option.

I find it difficult to any longer believe the Coeur d'Alene city government's assertion that it was unaware of the offender housing program which we now know is the EPIC program. The EPIC program was begun about 30 months ago by Dick Wild. At the time, he was the State Probation and Parole's re-entry service coordinator for the Coeur d'Alene District. His supervisor, the Probation and Parole District Manager, has a state position description which includes a statement that, "Incumbents maintain a close relationship with the courts, law enforcement agencies, Parole Commission and Interstate Compact." Mr. Wild would not have undertaken this project without his supervisor's approval, and his supervisor (the one with the supposedly close relationship with the Coeur d'Alene Police Department) would surely have told the police about it. So are we to assume the police department didn't tell anyone else in city government about the structured offender housing?

The question is, why is the Coeur d'Alene city government refusing to enforce its zoning ordinances that would enable prospective property buyers and current owners to learn that their neighbors are on probation or parole or are registered sex offenders? Perhaps it's because the Coeur d'Alene City Council and Mayor places a higher value on property sales than on the peace and safety of residents.


Blogger stebbijo said...

Gad -- it pays to be a criminal! You can get guaranteed housing in CDA under the Empowering People in Communities project? I could not read the article -- I am not a paid subscriber.

But, I beleive you! I am floored but not shocked. It's an Idaho thing - they like to keep the citizens dumb and dumber -- it's all about the money. I don't believe for a minute that the city government did not know about this either.

5:37 PM, May 18, 2005  

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