The Emmett Police Department wants to recognize and publicly thank all our citizens who have come forward and reported suspicious activities and acts of wrong doing. There have been many times during my career where people have demanded action to be taken by the police but when they are asked to be a witness or to help with more information, we are told by these citizens that they do not want to get involved.

In most situations a police officer is held to a higher standard than a citizen and we have to be very careful to not violate any person’s civil rights. Idaho law requires that the police officer must actually witness a misdemeanor violation before they can make an arrest (there are exceptions). Most of the time, violations are witnessed by a citizen and we (the police) rely heavily on the reports and documentation of our citizens to help resolve these criminal matters. If the citizen chooses to not get involved, it makes the process slower and more difficult to investigate and resolve.

Although we are asking our citizens for assistance in detecting criminal violations, we also want to encourage those citizens to be cautious on how much they are involved. If you do decide to provide help to us, please follow these simple ways to protect yourself.

• First and foremost, if a crime is occurring, immediately contact the Gem County Dispatch for non-emergencies at 365-3521 and 911 for an emergency.

• Avoid confronting people involved in suspicious activities.

• Do not place yourself or any family member in harm’s way to gather information.

• If “information” is gained, write the information down with the date and time of occurrence. Important information to include would be vehicle license plate numbers, vehicle description, personal identifying description, clothing descriptions, direction of travel and other helpful information to assist the police in locating the possible suspect.

• Remember that property is not as valuable as personal safety. Don’t risk getting hurt to protect your property.

Thank you to all those who support and assist law enforcement in our efforts to keep our community as crime-free as possible. There are countless cases that would not have been resolved without the help of community members who are will to provide valuable information to us.