Using the Police as a Weapon
Boundary County Clerk Calls Police on Member of the Community to Intimidate Them
The following article is based on witness testimony, and physical evidence.
Cameron Smith, who recently bought a home adjacent to the Tractor Supply property, is currently in a dispute with Boundary County regarding the County’s handling of events surrounding the proposed future Tractor Supply location. There are several valid issues that should be investigated in depth, regarding this topic.
County Commissioner Tim Bertling is voting on the topics related to the Tractor Supply, when there is a clear conflict of interest in this case. During Bertling’s write-in campaign, he approved a 40-foot campaign sign sitting on a tractor trailer to be placed on the property where the Tractor Supply is approved to be built. Bertling deflects his conflict of interest claiming that “his campaign manager is the one who put the sign there. So, there is no conflict of interest.” The fact is, when you are the face of a political campaign in a small community, you have TOTAL CONTROL of where your signs are placed. It would be impossible for Bertling to not know about the sign. Bertling is clearly lying about this.
Boundary.News published an article about this topic. Here is that link:
Although there are other, serious issues regarding Boundary County and the Tractor Supply property, there is another, more-serious problem that needs attention.
CLERKS OFFICE USING THE POLICE AS A WEAPON
Mr Smith needed to file time-sensitive paperwork with the Boundary County Clerk’s office. The County Clerk and other departments refused to provide any direction or assistance in the matter. All they did was send him to another department. That department would send him to a different department, in an endless loop. This is a common tactic used in the Boundary County government system.
According to the testimony of Mr Smith, the County manipulated the situation, bounced him around from department to department, and gave him the run-around. It appears that this was an effort to force Mr Smith to miss the deadline to file his paperwork. You can see this in his testimony, below.
Mr Smith was rightfully frustrated at the county official’s incompetence regarding the way he was treated, the posted hours, and the procedures for filing paperwork. Perhaps this was nothing more than stonewalling. Either way, the Clerk’s office has serious accountability issues.
Mr Smith had notified the Clerk’s office that he would be coming in to file his paperwork. When he arrived at the courthouse, he was met by Boundary County Sheriff’s Deputy, and a Bonners Ferry Police Officer. They began asking him questions. Although Mr Smith is not required by law to answer questions, he obliged the officers. The officers then proceeded to order Mr Smith to “be calm”. Audio of that interaction and the interaction with the Clerk’s office can be found here:
If the Clerk’s office dialed 911 in a non-emergency situation, it is an abuse of 911 services, which is illegal. If the Clerk’s office used a non-emergency means to ask for a Bonners Ferry Police Officer, and a Boundary County Sheriff’s Deputy to show up, it is an abuse of County resources, at best.
911 is not to be used if you feel uncomfortable or do not like a situation. 911 is to be used in an emergency. There is a reason why the title says “911 Emergency”.
Here is an interesting fact: The Courthouse jury commissioner who also acts as the security guard on duty is Ben Reinhardt. Ben happens to be a black-belt in Judo, and well-versed in other disciplines. The Clerk’s office entrance is less than 10 feet from Bens desk. The Clerk’s Office employees know this. There was zero need for any law enforcement to be brought to the scene.
The Clerk’s office obviously used the police as a weapon to intimidate a member of this community that had a valid dispute. Whomever is responsible for contacting the police when there was no threat, that individual should be prosecuted.
I took ownership of my property on September 15th 2022 and moved in on October 1st, 2022. The previous owners Dustin and Lowanda Dyrks were the owners of the house previous to me. James Byler submitted a request for a zoning change to the property to the south of me in September 2022 so that he could build 15000-foot building. At the time, he did not disclose in a public forum who the land was to be sold to. It turned out that it was Tractor Supply Company via a developer based out of Alabama who had created an LLC in Bonners Ferry, presumably, just for the purchase of the land and to stay anonymous.
The county failed to notify me as the new owner of the land and allow for public comment. I did not find out about the project until another notice was sent out for an approach variance that was going to be made on Homestead loop. One of the variances was within 20 feet of my driveway to allow for semi-truck traffic in and out of the new store. I received the notice on the 29th of December 2022 and was not able to verify what this was about until January 3rd because the road and bridge would not return my calls, nor would the zoning commission.
I attended the meeting that the county commissioners scheduled for the initial public comment as well as sent in a petition that was signed by 20 plus people explaining that they did not want the approach variances to be approved on the basis of safety concerns due to the increased traffic that was going to be on homestead loop. The traffic was also going to be compounded by many new high traffic businesses that are also in the works on 95 at this time. Tim
Bertling stated that he was able to vote on the issue and said that he did not have any conflicts of interest to preside over the decision. It should be noted that Tim Bertling had a tractor trailer sign on the property in question during the election period in September of 2022. The initial discussion was put on pause and then set for 3 weeks in advance so that the commissioners could consult with their legal counsel as well as have the developer make changes to the entrances to the business to align with requirements from the commissioners.
During the second public hearing Tim Bertling mentioned the fact that he did in fact did have the sign on the property in question, however he still felt that it was not a conflict of interest. The commissioners were asked if Road and Bridge had conducted a traffic study on 95 and homestead loop to assess if there were any additional risks by putting in this new business. They did not and stated that it was not required by law. The Commissioners then voted unanimously to approve the approach variances, despite many people from the community who had voiced their concerns about the project.
I then began to inquire how to go about how to file an appeal to the decision sighting that I was not notified and that the county had not followed the Idaho laws in regard to proper notifications of the residents. The County Commissioners Clerk, The County Court Clerk, Road and Bridge, nor zoning could tell me how to file an appeal.
I was able to look up the information on the county’s own website and then find the paperwork as well as fee schedule for the appeal. None of this information was known by any of the staff within the county. This is gross negligence on the county’s part, sighting that their own staff does not understand Idaho laws.
When trying to submit the appeal the county commissioners’ clerk nor the clerk of the courts could help me find the right person to submit the paperwork. I was bounced from one department to another, and being told it was a zoning issue, then a commissioner’s issue, and back to zoning.
The last day submission process came and I called once more to the commissioners and county clerk offices. I was told to go to the zoning office in Bonners Ferry by the clerk of the courts and Cherry insisted that this would be the correct action. The office was closed. I then tried calling the offices in Sandpoint. I then found out that the offices were closed on Tuesdays and that the only office for zoning was their Sandpoint location.
I then tried calling the Zoning offices in Sandpoint to verify that they were present and could accept the appeal. They did not answer. I then drove through a snow squall to the Sandpoint zoning offices. The zoning office said they could not accept my appeal.
I then drove back to the Boundary County Courthouse to file the appeal and was met by a Sherriff deputy and a Bonners Ferry Police officer and was told to “be calm”. I took this as an intimidation, sighting that
I had made no threats to any of the staff during this proceeding.
I am genuinely concerned about the ability for our county commissioner’s ability to follow the letter of the law as well as the ability of the supporting staff to conduct themselves in a helpful and lawful manner sighting that no one was familiar with the process, everyone was confused and unhelpful, and then I was strong armed by 2 armed law enforcement officers.
Please let me know if you would like me to give you the recording of the interaction with the police officers.