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Frequently Asked Questions

General

 

What's the difference between a sheriff's office and a police department?

Where do I pay a traffic ticket?

What is the difference between a sexual offender and a violent sexual predator? Where can I get my fingerprints taken for employment purposes?
What is required for a concealed weapons permit?

Arrests and Jail

 
What is a charge? What is the difference between a criminal case and a civil case?
What is the difference between a felony, a misdemeanor and an infraction? What is the difference between jail and prison?
How do I visit an inmate? How do I send money to an inmate?

911 & Dispatch

 
When should I call 911? What if I call 911 accidentally?
Why do dispatchers ask so many questions when I call 911 for help? What agencies does the Sheriff's Office dispatch for?

Records and Property

 
How do I request a background check on someone? How do I obtain a crash report?

Licensing

 
Where do I get a driver's license?  

 

What's the difference between a sheriff's office and a police department?

The main difference is jurisdiction. A sheriff's office provides law enforcement and jail services for an entire county while a police department serves a specific city or town. In Idaho, a sheriff's office is responsible for all civil services within each county.

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Where do I pay a traffic ticket?

In the Boundary County Clerk's Office, Room 22 of the County Courthouse, 6452 Kootenai Street in Bonners Ferry.

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What is the difference between a sexual offender and a violent sexual predator?

A sexual offender is a person convicted of certain felony sex crimes, while a violent sexual predator is a sexual offender who the Sexual Offender Classification Board deems to be at risk of committing additional sex offenses or engaging in predatory sexual conduct.

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Where can I get my fingerprints taken for employment purposes?

The Boundary County Sheriff's Office offers fingerprinting in the detention department from 9 to 11 a.m. each Wednesday and Thursday and from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1:30 to 3 p.m. each Saturday. The fee for fingerprinting is $10, and no appointment is necessary. Delays are rare, though possible.

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What is a charge?

A charge is an accusation based on evidence or information. The criminal justice process starts with the pressing of charges. Being charged does not necessarily mean that a person is guilty of a crime, in fact, in our system of justice, all are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Charges can be brought through the arrest of a person at the scene of the alleged crime, through an arrest based on a warrant issued by a judge, or through an indictment by a grand jury as the result of an investigation. All charges must be provable by evidence indicating that more than likely a crime has been committed and that the person charged is the one who more than likely committed that crime.

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What is the difference between a criminal case and a civil case?

A criminal case is brought by the authority of the state or federal government, represented by the Prosecutor. Criminal cases seek punishments such as fine, jail time or both as an outcome. Civil cases are typically brought by private parties or corporations and seek to collect monetary damages.

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What is the difference between a felony, a misdemeanor and an infraction?

A felony is a more serious crime, carrying a potential penalty of over a year in prison. A misdemeanor less serious, usually resulting in a penalty of a year or less in jail. Conviction of either felony or misdemeanor may also carry fines and/or probation. An infraction is a civil penalty not constituting a crime, usually consisting of a fine.

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What is the difference between jail and prison?

In Idaho, jails are operated by sheriffs and are designed to hold individuals waiting for trial or serving a short sentence. Inmates sentenced to less than one year can serve their time in jail. Idaho prisons are operated by the Idaho Department of Corrections and are designed to hold only individuals already convicted, typically with sentences exceeding one year.

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How do I visit an inmate?

Visiting hours at the Boundary County Detention Facility are from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. each Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.  Special visits will be made only with the consent of the Sheriff, Chief Deputy or Detention Sergeant. Identification will be requested. No one under 18 years of age may visit an inmate unless accompanied by their parent or legal guardian. To learn more, click here.

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How do I send money to an inmate?

Mail for inmates incarcerated in the Boundary County Jail should include the inmates' first and last name and be addressed to Boundary County Jail, P.O. Box 127, Bonners Ferry, ID 83805. Any mail received not appropriately addressed will either be returned to the sender or placed in the inmates' property, to be provided the inmate upon release.

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When should I call 911?

911 is for emergencies or situations that could escalate into an emergency.

  • Is there a threat to life or property?

  • Are you or someone else the victim of a crime?

  • Do you have a police emergency?

  • Do you or someone else have a medical emergency?

  • Do you need the fire department?

If the situation seems urgent and has the potential to become dangerous, call 911. Dispatchers will determine whether your call should be handled by 911 or can be transferred to another person or agency. All other calls should be directed to our non-emergency number: 267-3151.

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What if I call 911 accidentally?

If you accidentally dial 911, do not hang up. Stay on the line and tell the dispatcher that everything is alright. If you don't, the dispatcher may think that something is wrong and send a police officer to check.

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Why do dispatchers ask so many questions when I call 911 for help?

Emergency dispatchers need to get accurate information to allow officers to make the best decision on how to approach the situation. Dispatchers handling fire and medical calls must also consider the well-being of the public and the safety of the firefighters and medics. Callers will be asked:

  • Where

  • What

  • Who

  • When

  • (maybe) Why

The information you provide a dispatcher is relayed to responding officers, paramedics or firefighters while they are on their way to the call.

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What agencies does the Sheriff's Office dispatch for?

The Boundary County Sheriff's Office provides dispatch services for multiple agencies, including the Bonners Ferry Police Department, Idaho State Police, US Customs and Border Patrol, Idaho Fish & Game, US Forest Service Law Enforcement and more. In addition, Sheriff's Dispatchers call out, direct and monitor Boundary Volunteer Ambulance and all county fire departments; South Boundary, Paradise Valley, North Bench, City of Bonners Ferry, City of Moyie Springs, Curley Creek, and Hall Mountain. In the event of a major incident, dispatchers also provide communications services for Boundary County Emergency Management personnel.

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How do I request a background check on someone?

The Boundary County Sheriff's Office does not provide background checks for the public. If you want to check the criminal record of a new employee or someone who may be in contact with children or if you have concerns about a person's past, you can request a statewide background check. These are done through the Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI). You can also contact BCI by writing BCI, 700 S. Stratford Dr. , Meridian, ID 83642, or by calling (208) 884-7135 .

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How do I obtain a crash report?

The Idaho State Police maintains crash reports for all crashes they investigate, which is several thousand per year, including most of the major collisions that occur in Boundary County. Visit their website, http://www.isp.state.id.us/crashreports.html, to submit an on-line request.

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Where do I get a driver's license?

The Boundary County Driver's Licensing Department is located in the Sheriff's Office, 6438 Kootenai Street in downtown Bonners Ferry. Many people get Driver's Licensing and Motor Vehicle Licensing, which is located in Room 15 on the lower level of the County Courthouse. If you need a license to drive, go to the Sheriff's Office; if you need to license the vehicle you drive, visit the courthouse!

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