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Many cities in Idaho have historically contracted with their county sheriff for police services. Because county sheriffs are charged with enforcing Idaho Code countywide, these arrangements often allow the sheriff to also enforce city ordinances. This arrangement provides small towns access to an increased police presence without incurring the expense of maintaining their own department. The sheriff, in turn, receives more financial resources to improve service delivery. For many cities and counties, it is a mutually beneficial arrangement that acknowledges the unique challenges facing small-towns and rural communities.

For many years, the City of Driggs contracted with the Teton County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) for police services under just such an arrangement. However, Driggs officials canceled their contract with TCSO in 2016. City officials alleged inadequate service delivery, poor follow-through and a lack of transparency, combined with a belief that their resources would be better directed elsewhere. Officials from TCSO disagree with this perception.

This study aims to review the issues surrounding the Driggs contract with TCSO and the circumstances that led to its cancellation. Combining academic research, stakeholder interviews and budgetary analysis, we consider five law enforcement alternatives available for Driggs’ officials to better inform their decisions regarding law enforcement. These alternatives include maintaining the status quo with no county contract, restoring a contract for service, establishing a code enforcement officer position, creating a city-level police department and forming a large-scale unified system. Each of these options has its own cost structure and its own unique challenges that policymakers must weigh.


This report was prepared by the Idaho Policy Institute at Boise State University and commissioned by The City of Driggs.