AMERICAN FALLS — After more than 25 years of serving several law enforcement agencies around the area, Josh Campbell knows the importance of forging strong, positive relationships between law enforcement and community members.
And after being sworn in on Monday as Power County Sheriff, Campbell plans to apply what he he’s learned to the position and adapt to the change by getting to know his new team and understand his duties.
“With the police department what I learned as a detective was how to speak to people,” Campbell said. “If you don’t have the gift of gab and you talk down to somebody, you’re not going to get very far, especially as an investigator. … Treating people as humans and treating them as I want to be treated or how I want my family to be treated is huge. So I think as a whole that’s been the best lesson I’ve ever learned in this career at all.”
Campbell, who ran as the Republican candidate against Democratic candidate Max Sprague in November, replaced Jim Jeffries, who served as sheriff since 2005 and retired after his fourth term.
Campbell has accumulated an extensive background in law enforcement since he first started his career when he was a senior in high school as a reserve officer. Since then, he has held several positions in different agencies such as the American Falls Police Department and Idaho State Police.
He was also the American Falls school resource officer and D.A.R.E. officer from 1994 to 2000, during which time he obtained the very first and only D.A.R.E. car in the city.
After serving with the Idaho State Police for almost eight years, he returned to American Falls to join the AFPD and over the years was able to work his way up the ranks to second-in-command as captain.
During this work for the city and state, he received three commendations for bravery and leadership after he demonstrated the ability to think quickly on his feet during tense situations.
“It’s just been a fun experience and a fun ride getting to know people and seeing what you can do to help and just being a voice for the people,” he said. “It’s important. They need to be heard.”
As far as short-term goals that Campbell plans to tackle, he explained that there are a few positions he’d like see filled over the next 90 days. These positions include a jailor, a dispatcher, a patrol person and a resource officer for the high school. He also explained he plans to appoint a chief deputy in the next few weeks as well.
Campbell stated he would like to improve upon the visibility of the sheriff’s office deputies and have them and himself be seen around the community taking in the public’s concerns and taking action if needed.
“(I want to) work on professionalism and thoroughness of their jobs,” he said. “It’s important because without that I think you have nothing. It makes your job doubly hard if you don’t have any relationship with the public. So getting out and being visible and being seen and letting them be heard … is going to help us in the long run.”
For anyone interested in applying for a position at the Power County Sheriff’s Office can contact 208-226-2319 or visit 550 Gifford Ave. for more information.