A North Idaho Community’s Caring for Their Police

By Faye Higbee

Coeur d’Alene is a North Idaho community nestled in a region of  beautiful blue lakes, emerald forests and meandering rivers. On Tuesday, one of their police officers, a trainee, was shot during a traffic stop. Because this city understands what that means for the emotional status of their cops, they poured out their support to the department. It’s how every community should be.

The incident

Tuesday night, Field Training Officer Taylor Beach and trainee Charles Hatley stopped a vehicle with three persons in it at around 7 p.m.  As they checked for warrants, they learned that one of the people in the vehicle had an outstanding Felony warrant for drugs. They went to take him into custody and he opened fire, striking Officer Hatley once in the abdomen.

Curtis Ware had a criminal record

The suspect, Curtis Ware, was killed in an exchange of gunfire with police. Officer Beach immediately took her trainee to the hospital in the back of her patrol car. He was released from the hospital today, March 2. He will be fine. But the incident affected not just one man, but all of the police officers on the small department. It even affected the community, who stepped in to support the officers of the Coeur d’Alene Police.

The two other subjects in the car were arrested on drug charges.

Why did it affect everyone? Because nearly three years ago, the department lost Sgt Greg Moore to a man who shot him just because he didn’t want the officer to find his gun. And that loss was at the forefront of everyone’s minds when Officer Hatley was shot. The suspect in that incident was found guilty of capital murder and will now face the death penalty, pending appeals.

“It’s a pretty big deal for our department. Two officers hit in 3 years now. That is a big deal for a community this size and we don’t take this lightly.” Police Chief Lee White

Chief White is a US Marine Veteran.

Community Support

Nate’s NY Pizza brought in pizzas for the department. People sent flowers, cards, emails of support. Caruso’s, Buffalo Wild Wings and Texas Roadhouse  also committed to bring food to the department. Even officer’s spouses stepped up to create meal deliveries for the officers according to KXLY news.

Officer Hartley was released on March 2 from Kootenai Health. As they wheeled him out of the hospital, he appeared slightly embarassed by all the attention. That this community values its police officers is a rare and special situation. Every year on the anniversay of Sgt Moore’s death, the town lights up in blue lights. They even created a special memorial for fallen law enforcement officers.

Having worked for this department for over 31 years, I know that they work hard to weed out the bad ones. They have always been solid, community oriented officers who are in place to do their jobs and do them well. Even through different Chiefs and rough seasons, they have done a great job. They are a valuable asset to North Idaho. Thankful that Officer Hatley will be well is an understatement.