Paying for patrols: City of Hayden wants to double number of deputies

The city of Hayden has just under 15,000 people. Right now, only four deputies are assigned to patrol the town each week on separate shifts.

Hayden City Council members worry that’s not enough, especially with a growing population. The mayor and council members want to double the number of designated Kootenai County deputies which the city reimburses the county for.

Deputies will respond to an emergency 24 hours a day — that doesn’t cost the city any money. What Hayden pays for is having four designated deputies who patrol the town during their shift. Four deputies spread out seven days a week does not mean 24/7 patrol coverage.

“The response time right now is a little over nine minutes,” said Hayden Mayor Steve Griffitts. “By having a dedicated officer 24 hours a day, our response time will go to three minutes. That’s huge.”

Adding four additional deputies (eight total) would cost the city around $677,000 each year. In a 3-1 vote during Tuesday’s meeting, council members directed the city administrator to create the language for the November ballot.

“30 years ago, we decided that we wanted this to be a family friendly town for kids to live in and go to the beach and stuff like that,” said Council member Richard Panabaker. “With adequate law enforcement I think that makes that a possibility even with the way things are today.”

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