The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) Recreation Safety Section is responsible for providing marine law enforcement and rescue patrols to 18 lakes and 56 miles of navigable river within our county. The program operates year round, but is at maximum deployment May 01 through September 15 of each year. At maximum deployment, the section employs one full time Sergeant, one full time Deputy and twelve seasonal Deputies.
Throughout the year, the marine program provides certified boating education courses to the public and conducts patrols on the various lakes and rivers in the county. Kootenai County is home to 18,000 registered boaters, the largest number in the State.
The Marine program is a leader in the State when it comes to the service provided to the boater. We also host an 80 hour post certified marine academy; once trained, the marine deputies conduct several thousand vessel safety inspections and arrest dozens of intoxicated boaters off the water each year. Additionally, the Marine program teaches the State Certified Boating Education course to local students.
The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office has a dedicated Back Country Unit. This unit is made up of two full time Patrol Deputies who are assigned to the Recreation Safety Section. Their primary function is to conduct back country patrols and respond to calls for service.
The Back Country Unit patrols and covers the rural and forested areas of the county where special vehicles / equipment are used to gain access where they perform rescues and enforce off-road laws and educate the public in the use of such lands.
The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office Recreation Safety Section is charged with maintaining an active Dive Rescue Team. The team consists of thirteen members. The divers train year round in various environments.
The divers are trained in boat operations, swift water rescue, ice rescue and can dive to 60 feet. On average, the dive team responds to two dozen calls per year.
The Recreation Safety Section has management and oversight of the KCSO Volunteer Search and Rescue Unit. This (VSAR) nonprofit unit is made up of fifty plus sworn volunteer members with various skill sets. VSAR's main focus is on Search Management and ground search efforts, including use of ATVs and snowmobiles. Many of our members are also certified trackers or dog team members.