Wayne Rausch

(candidate for 2004 Latah County Sheriff)

1. The Latah County Sheriff is responsible for the operation of the county’s largest office with 50 employees in enforcement and jail functions. What training and experience do you have to successfully manage this department, including the budget, risk management, human resources, and communications responsibilities?
I have had a career in law enforcement that has spanned nearly 20 years and includes over 2000 hours of classroom training, specific to law enforcement. (There is a link on my website detailing that training.) Through the years, I have held positions as a Deputy, Detective, Sergeant and Lieutenant. I was a member of the Search and Rescue and SWAT divisions in several agencies in Arizona. I have responded to many Search and Rescue recovery calls, including numerous aircraft crash investigations in remote areas. I served as the Range Master for both the Patrol Division and the SWAT Division at Mohave County. I relay this to let you know that I have years of first-hand field experience.

While serving as a Lieutenant for Mohave County Sheriff's Office, I was the SWAT commander, over-seeing many critical drug raids, barricaded entries and warrant retrievals. On Christmas Eve of 1992, I was the Commander in charge of quelling a riot in the jail. I had only minutes before the control pods would be breached, allowing the inmates to literally control a population of over 300 prisoners. Using all of the up-to-date training and the equipment at our disposal, my team penetrated the barricaded doors, took 15 violent inmates into custody and restored control of the jail to the Corrections Division.

During my career, I have made hundreds of arrests of violent felons. I was hand selected by the Flagstaff (AZ) Division of the FBI to assist their office with the covert investigation of a suspected serial murderer. I was the lead investigator in a homicide case, and assisted as investigator in many others.

During my service as Lieutenant, I supervised two Patrol Districts, and the Marine Division. Lake Havasu is one of the busiest lakes in the United States. Patrol responsibilities were shared by many local, state and federal agencies. Mohave County Sheriff's presence on the lake was manifested by more watercraft than any other agency. Lake Mohave and Lake Mead were also patrolled by Mohave County Sheriff's boats under my command.

As a District Commander, I participated in establishing the budget, and then operated effectively within those guidelines. Sometimes, when budgets were tight, I was forced to be creative in allocating necessary materials for the operation of the Office. One year, with the Sheriff's blessing, I approached the local steel mill, the railroad and the mines in donating materials to complete a firearms range refurbishment, and an excellent range was created for the use of area agencies and their SWAT personnel.

Risks can be minimized by two rather simple concepts: Training and fairness. I assisted greatly in this process by becoming an instructor, and by treating my subordinates fairly. I believe that someone selected for any level of service within an agency should receive proper training prior to being assigned tasks

Currently in Latah County, a recruit is sent to the basic academy for the required amount of time, and then participates in the Field Training program. Once this has been accomplished, training classes are few and far between. I want to change that. Additionally supervisors should not be selected and placed without any training for his or her new responsibilities. These decisions affect everyone; subordinates, peers, supervisors and the public. This principle applies to any level of employee, and runs the gambit from malfeasance, misfeasance, prejudice, bias, sexual harassment, etc.

Fairness is just as important as training. To be fair, policy and procedure must be interpreted and enforced equally by those in charge. To put it simply, "the stove has to be hot for all who touch it." Unequal treatment and discipline affects all the employees, not just those who receive it.

Many people understand that to properly analyze a process or problem, there are five steps in doing so. (1) The group assigned asks, "Is there a problem?" (2) The problem is defined. (3) A solution is presented. (4) The solution is implemented. (5) The group must then go back to step 1. If this process is valid, no division, group or individual is exempted from it. It is also appropriate that the process is assigned to a group, and not left to an individual.

Employee A is determined to be a liability by Company 1. He is branded as a troublemaker, and advised or encouraged to move on. Employee A is then hired by Company 2. He becomes a great employee, and all are happy with him. Ok, maybe Company 1 was correct. But when employees B, C, D, E, F, G. follow the same path, a thinking man has to ask, "What's going on in Company 1?" This is a good time to question the management practices of Company 1.

Communication is one of the most essential skills necessary to be a successful Sheriff. My experience has taught me it's far easier to talk then it is to fight! In an arrest situation, when the violator quits talking, the fight is just around the corner. When a Sheriff doesn't communicate, communities are angry, citizens are frustrated, cases go unsolved, morale plummets and nearby agencies go out-of-state for their dispatch service.

2. What is the level of employee morale now at the Latah County Sheriff’s Department? How is job satisfaction among departmental employees now measured and evaluated? What changes could be made to improve morale?
The morale at the Sheriff's Office is at an all-time low. A few employees would deny this, yet I estimate that 75 to 80 percent of the employees there support me. They would love to tell the voters this, but they know what their future would be like if they breathed a word. Currently job satisfaction at the Sheriff's Office is gauged by how often you express an opinion not shared by the administration. If you say nothing and do nothing to attract attention, you will be found to be a model employee. Presently, it is a bad idea to come up with any new proposal that suggests something outside of the current paradigm. In the past seven and one half years, over 60 employees have left the Sheriff's Office. This is over 100% turnover.

My solution to this problem is simple. People must be treated with dignity and respect. Policy must be enforced fairly and equitably. The task is not more important than the person performing it. The position of Sheriff is not a status symbol or a divine calling. It is a public service position created to serve the citizens of the County. A Sheriff must communicate well with others. Communication has two facets. Talking and LISTENING. I believe that ideas expressed by employees are not a threat to authority, but a valuable contribution to the function of the department.

I believe it is detrimental to the agency to segregate and divide its various divisions to such an extent that each operates separately from the others. Detective case files are pass-coded, and cannot be accessed by the patrol division, who are the eyes and ears of the agency. Dispatch acts under a whole different set of rules and a separate chain of command. When this interferes with a deputy's ability to do their job, the deputy cannot address the problem with the dispatcher, but must report it to his or her supervisor through the chain of command. If the supervisor is not immediately available, the problem persists, and has no immediate solution or remedy. In any productive organization, teamwork is an applied principle, not a mantra that has no foundation in the actual status quo. This must change. All sworn employees must share information regularly within the agency and with other agencies in order to be more productive in fighting crime.

Endless "Internal Investigations" beat down any and all employees. Internal investigations should be reserved for serious allegations of misconduct or criminal behavior. They should not be used when allegations of a minor nature are made. Most internal investigations are done by the detective division. At times they have had to refuse working on a criminal case, because they were tied up with investigating their fellow employees. I believe serious complaints should be handled by an outside agency, and complaints of a minor nature should be assigned to the employee's immediate supervisor.

Most people who live in this county do so because they like it here, and want to call it home. You might make more money elsewhere, but you like the quality of life in Latah County. This is where you want to raise your family. It's no different for the typical Sheriff's Office employee. Sure, some of them want more money, and some want to live in the city, but many have felt forced to leave, due to an inflexible, rigid administration.

3. What should be the relationship between the Latah County Sheriff’s Department and other nearby law enforcement agencies? What changes, if any, would you want to implement in interagency relations?
This two part question can be answered by my explanation of the second part.
I do not consider it productive for a Sheriff to constantly send e-mail and letters to other agency heads in lieu of having face to face conversations. Sure, there will always be disagreements, but every communication doesn't have to be taken as a challenge of authority. It's no secret that budgets will become increasingly tight. There is a huge shortfall at the U of I, Wal-Mart may relocate to Washington, and on and on.
Those things that can be shared with other agencies need to be. In order for this cooperation to take place, agency leadership must forge the way to a new era of hospitality, not hostility. Under my administration, this will happen.

4. Please compare the success of the Latah County Sheriff’s Department in solving crimes in comparison with other nearby jurisdictions.
The problem with statistics is they can always offer proof of whatever theory the presenter favors. If there's a dramatic drop in DWI arrests, the incumbent claims no one any longer drives while intoxicated in their jurisdictional area. There is such a tough stance on DWI that drunk drivers stop at the county line and call for a cab! A study performed in Kansas City years ago showed that reported crime increased as more officers worked the area. This was mostly due to the fact that more officers discovered crime.

Latah County has many new officers. New officers are less likely to have developed the degree of expertise of their veteran counterparts. However, the staff members in this department are very dedicated. I believe that in spite of all the obstacles they encounter, Latah County Sheriff's employees are second to none in this county.

An area that is lacking, however, is that of aggressively dealing with the increasing drug problem in this county. There has not been a full-time narcotics officer since June of 2002. While a detective is assigned to attend the meetings of the Quad-Cities Drug Task Force, an effective drug interdiction program is not in place. The City of Moscow has a full-time employee working with the task force but he is too busy to assume responsibility for the county's ever increasing problem. Uniformed officers are ineffective, due to their obvious visibility.

5. How do you plan to use email, websites, or any other communication tools to inform county residents about department programs or to gather input from those residents?
I value the opinions of the citizens of this county. One very effective tool is a customer satisfaction survey. This form can easily be attached to the Sheriff's Office website. For those without internet availability, this form can be sent through the mail. The questions cover the entirety of the customer experience, from dispatch contact through prosecution of the case. Naturally, I am not as interested in the opinion of the arrested suspect who just sent his wife to the hospital on a domestic violence investigation as I am in that of the victim who just suffered a break-in.

I also intend to have a much closer and open relationship with the local media. Public service announcements are very helpful tools in maintaining public safety. Many crimes are solved through citizen witness reports. If the citizen doesn't know the Sheriff's Office needs information, they may not realize their knowledge is important to solving a case.

I plan to take a particular day of the week, maybe Fridays, and regularly visit the out-lying communities. It's essential that a community gets to know the officers that serve them, particularly their Sheriff. This is another excellent way for the citizens to communicate to the Sheriff their concerns.

6. Please include biographical information about yourself, email, phone, or website contact information, and any other message you want to share with county voters.
BIOGRAPHY: In 1983, the copper mining industry in Arizona was suffering, and I found myself among the crowd of laid-off miners. Interested in law enforcement, I enrolled in an 8-month reserve academy evenings and weekends serving as class president, while I worked maintenance during the days.

After graduating at the top of my class academically, I went to work for the Cochise County Sheriff Department in rural southeastern Arizona, where my wife and I had grown up. I worked as a deputy sheriff and served with the Special Response Team that included both Search and Rescue and Tactical Operations.

In 1990, I moved my family to Tucson and went to work for the Tucson Police Department but soon discovered that a city police force "beat" did not provide the challenges and satisfaction that I had enjoyed in a Sheriff's Office.

I accepted a position with the Mohave County Sheriff's Office and my family relocated to Kingman, Arizona. The crime rate was very high, primarily due to the extreme drug problem there. The Kingman Justice Court was the busiest in the state and the Sheriff's Office' caseload at that time was running above 47,000 calls for service annually.

I served as a deputy, a detective, a sergeant, and lieutenant, having command over 2 districts and the marine division. The waterways included 45-mile long Lake Havasu, a well-know spring-break party destination. I became a firearms instructor and then range master, overseeing the firearms training. I worked with the FBI on a serial murder case on special assignment and was given an award for valor, in the rescue attempt of three little boys from a burning manufactured home.

In 1997, I and my wife felt the need to leave the high-crime, high stress of Mohave County. Our two daughters were high school age, and we felt we would all benefit with relocation to this area. I was hired by the Latah County Sheriff's Office and we made our home here. (I would note that the previous year Latah County's calls for service were running around 4,700!)

I served as a deputy, then detective, then sergeant. I was a firearms instructor here as well. My experience and leadership earned the respect of the men I served with.

I chose to run for sheriff, not because I have a need for power and control, but because I saw a critical need for experience in leadership and accountability to the citizens of our communities. There is a grave need for communication and cooperation, not only with the residents, but with other Latah County Offices and law enforcement agencies. As budgets grow tighter, the only effective way to serve the citizens is to work together, combining resources and sharing information wherever possible.

Having seen firsthand the destruction that drugs wreak in communities, I want to bring my experience to the job to keep Latah County from becoming like the Arizona communities I worked in that suffer increased burglaries, domestic violence, assaults, robberies and homicides. I ask for your vote in November, 2004 for Latah County Sheriff.

Finally, I want the residents of the City of Moscow to consider this. The residents of the communities of Genesee, Juliaetta, Kendrick, Potlatch, Onaway, Princeton, Harvard, Bovill, Helmer and Viola do not have a police department to protect their lives and property as you do. They must rely solely upon the Latah County Sheriff's Office for their service. As I went to these communities and spoke with their mayors and city council members, I was advised of the same thing time and time again. The residents of these communities are not happy about the level of service they receive. They are particularly unhappy about the drug problems that flourish in their neighborhoods. This is not a problem that reflects upon the enforcement members of the Office, but rather, a problem with the philosophy of the man in charge. Because Moscow has a larger population than these communities combined, the result of an election is in your hands. Ask yourselves, "How would I vote if I were in their shoes?"

My email is
My home phone is (208) 882-3765
My website is

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