Thursday we told you why the Southeast Idaho Special Tactics and Response team is asking for donations to help them buy a new vehicle that will greatly improve their ability to respond to these high risk situations.
Now we take a closer look at what is behind a recent surge in violence and why one local sheriff says it is no accident.
“I strongly believe, in fact I’ve got intelligence that verifies that the underworld is looking into the rural areas of the nation to migrate to,” said Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen.
These are strong words coming from Bannock County’s top cop but it’s hard to ignore the evidence.
“Five years ago, there’s no way you could convince me that we were going to have 3 officer shootings,” said Sheriff Nielsen. “Five years ago, there’s no way you would have been able to tell me that 9 of my officers, that previously were never involved in a shooting had already joined that club.”
Nielsen and the six other sheriffs of the seven county STAR team have all noticed an increase in violent crime and Nielsen says he knows why.
“I think the reason that organized and other bad elements are coming into the rural areas is because they are being pushed out by the techniques and advantages of larger cities and the pressure that those larger cities are putting on them,” said Nielsen. “They want to go to a county that has eight officers for 1,100 square miles. “
To counter this threat, the sheriffs have combined tactical forces to form the STAR team. However, some of their equipment could use an upgrade and they feel like this is already a safety risk.