North Idaho

Shooting of Arfee not justified

Shooting of Arfee not justified

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Three separate reviews have determined that a Coeur d'Alene police officer's shooting of a dog in July was not justified.

Coeur d'Alene Police Chief Lee White announced the findings during a Friday morning press conference, during which he also identified the officer involved in that shooting was Dave Kelly, a 17 year law enforcement veteran.

"I can say that in my brief interactions with Officer Kelly I found him to be a man of honor and integrity and I will tell you that he has been deeply affected by this incident," he added.

Because of Idaho labor laws, White said he cannot discuss any disciplinary actions Kelly will face for the shooting.

White said the department will work to revamp their training and practices for dealing with animals in the wake of the shooting of Arfee, who was sitting in a vehicle outside Java on Sherman when he was shot by Kelly. Initially the department identified the dog as a pit bull; Arfee was actually a black lab.

"It just, it crushes me know the way he died. It's a savage thing," Craig Jones, Arfee's owner, said shortly after the shooting. "I just went into this spin where it was just unbelievable because this was like my biggest fear. This dog is with me every day religiously."

White also wants to create a citizen component to the city's Use of Force review board.

The shooting negatively impacted the public's trust in his department, White said. Indeed, Arfee's shooting outraged the community, and comments came in to the department from far and wide about the dog's shooting.

"This event has shaken confidence in our police department but the relationship between our community and our department will ultimately be strengthened as a direct result of how we respond to the situation," White said.

The press conference Friday morning was lightly attended as White, recently hired as the Lake City's newest police chief, shared the results of the two month long investigation into the dog's shooting by Kelly.

The Coeur d'Alene city council said it is working with Jones to compensate him for his loss, and offered to buy his van as part of that compensation. The city hasn't heard back from Jones, who has hired legal counsel and has discussed plans to file a lawsuit over his dog's shooting.

Reached on the phone Friday, Jones said it was clear from the beginning to him the shooting was unjustified and that just because the Coeur d'Alene Police Department admitted as much doesn't make him feel any better.