Sheriff candidate Robert Norris got the endorsement late Friday from the Kootenai County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, which passed over a captain in its own ranks to endorse Norris.
Jeremy Hyle, the group’s president, said Norris — a former Los Angeles County officer and Kootenai County resident who has been campaigning for the sheriff’s slot for more than a year — brought the experience and a plan for the sheriff’s office that the association considered a good fit for the department.
“He checked all the boxes and then some,” Hyle said.
After the group’s official announcement, Norris posted at 7:30 p.m. on Facebook that he appreciated the endorsement.
“I am honored to have the confidence of the men and women of the sheriff’s office,” he wrote. “The men and women of this organization are the finest you will find anywhere in this great nation.”
When Sheriff Ben Wolfinger announced in 2018 that he would not seek re-election, Norris was among four Republican candidates to submit treasurer reports with the county elections office, allowing their campaigns to begin.
Other candidates included Richard Whitehead, Scott Jones, who has since dropped out of the race, and Kim Edmondson, who is a captain at the sheriff’s office and a member of the deputy sheriff’s association.
Edmondson, a 28-year member of the sheriff’s office, said earlier that she would be honored to gain the support of the men and women in her command.
“It’s important to me for sure,” Edmondson said. “Having been involved in it as long as I have, it’s definitely something that’s important to me.”
She and Norris were the association’s top two candidates, who were invited back this month to talk with deputies after a December forum weeded out the four other candidates.
One of the candidates, John Green, has since been convicted in U.S. court of attempting to defraud the government.
Longtime deputy association member Will Klinkefus said Norris had the experience and leadership qualities to meet the challenges of a rapidly growing community.
“Norris brings a solid background … (which is) something I believe the sheriff’s office could significantly benefit from,” Klinkefus said. “It really wasn’t a difficult choice.”
The remaining candidates in the race include Richard Whitehead, John Grimm and Mike Bauer.