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.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Why Not a Regional Criminal Justice Center?

Why don't Idaho and Washington, Kootenai County and Spokane County, join in creating one regional criminal justice center near the Idaho-Washington border?

Here are the very basic facts as I see them:

1. Kootenai County needs more jail space soon. That need may level out, but it is unlikely to diminish.

2. Spokane County needs more jail space.

3. Kootenai County and surrounding Idaho counties have no regional law enforcement training facility.

4. The Spokane County Sheriff wants to build a Washington State regional law enforcement training facility between Fairchild AFB and Spokane International Airport (GEG).

5. Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC) would like to put a community work center in northern Idaho.

6. In case of a major disaster, natural or manmade, a coordinated regional response incorporating mutual aid is likely to be necessary.

Why couldn’t Kootenai County, Spokane County, Washington and Idaho work together to build a regional (shared) jail and training facility somewhere near the WA-ID border? The campus could include an IDOC community work center. Because of noise and traffic, such a facility would necessarily have to be away from residential areas.

Instead of expanding the county jails at their present locations in Spokane and Coeur d'Alene or abandoning them altogether, use them as custodial intake and processing facilities. Use them for special needs prisoners. Convert some jail space to secured courtrooms.

It seems to me this would meet a lot of agencies’ objectives while avoiding unnecessary design and structural duplication. Given the Department of Homeland Security’s emphasis on interoperability with projects such as SAFECOM, it might even be possible to get the feds to fund part of this under various homeland security grants.

Clearly there are many social and political issues that would have to be addressed imaginatively. It just seems to me that by regionalizing these functions, the region would benefit far more than it would suffer. The agencies occupying and using the facility would develop closer regional emergency cooperation, and the economic savings and benefits would be significant.


Blogger Bay Views said...

I'm wondering how the separate States would handle the bureacartic hrdles. Are there any other multistate facilities?

5:48 PM, October 19, 2005  

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