Bob is a current member of the Kootenai County Search and Rescue Team and a 30-year Sheriff’s Office Veteran. Where to this day, he serves the people in this community. Organization and community first! This makes him a perfect “fit” as our new Sheriff. He already knows the responsibilities and duties of all aspects of the organization so he can quickly and smoothly take over as the Kootenai County Sheriff.
Bob’s assignments included: patrol, custody, narcotics, gangs, investigations, counter terrorism and emergency preparedness. Bob is also an expert and believer in community-based policing.
Bob was also a graduate of the LASO’s prestigious Leadership Certification program. It’s a three-part certification where future law enforcement leaders are hand-picked to attend from his and those surrounding law enforcement jurisdictions.
After 9/11 Bob was selected out of hundreds of sheriff candidates to lead a special team at the newly created Joint Regional Intelligence Center (JRIC) to combat terrorism in the United States. Bob held a Top Secret SCI and was responsible for managing personnel and resources from local, state, and federal agencies like the FBI, CIA and US Attorney’s Office. Bob’s work also brought him international exposure when he was selected to train in Israel with Mossad (the CIA equivalent) and Shin Bet (FBI equivalent) in the war on terror.
Before leaving the JRIC, his responsibilities also included the planning, logistics, and response to man-made and natural disasters. Very few law enforcement officials are ever exposed to this kind of logistical planning operations. Bob was later promoted to Lieutenant.
It was here he learned to manage the law enforcement responsibilities for a large community. He was responsible for a multi-million-dollar budget and a staff of over 150 public-safety professionals. His last unit of assignment was Chief of Law Enforcement Services, where he served a community about the size of Kootenai County. Throughout this time he worked directly with government and elected officials as well as community leaders. It is this experience that has prepared him to lead the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office into the future.
Bob retired on March 27, 2014 after 30 years with the LASO. In the mid 1990s Bob was injured while capturing a suspect. Bob was immediately treated for his injuries and went on to complete a full career. At the time of his retirement, Bob had zero disability despite being injured on the job back in the 1990s. However, approximately two years after retiring, a disability Board -- comprised of specialists to evaluate past job related injuries for county employees -- assigned Bob a partial disability for that injury. Being assigned a disability does not mean that a Deputy gets more pay or must retire early. Instead, it only means that a partial amount of existing retirement income is not taxed.
After his retirement Bob joined the prestigious Kootenai County Search & Rescue Team where -- to this day -- he continues to engage and serve the people in our community. With your support (and vote), he can apply his even-handed management style and approachability here in Kootenai County, and create an even stronger relationship between our community’s law enforcement professionals and the people they serve.
Kootenai County is one of the fastest growing counties and having a Sheriff with proven leadership abilities like Bob Norris will help to ensure that the Sheriff’s Office will be able to keep pace with the County’s growth and maintain its mission of protecting the citizens’ rights while keeping the area safe from dangerous criminals. This is a critical period for the County which is why we need to have a proven law enforcement leader like Bob Norris. Please give him your support and your vote.
The Norris for Sheriff Campaign is pleased to announce it has completed a thorough interview process with the CDA Press. The questions were tough and the CDA Press "pulled no punches", but the answers provide full transparency about Bob Norris and his background. It should be noted that Transparency with the Sheriff’s Office is a major part of his campaign platform. Kootenai County voters should be pleased to know that transparency begins with his campaign. Please contact us if you should have additional questions about the CDA Press interview. Below are the questions asked by the CDA Press and Bob's answers.
1) You registered to vote here less than a year ago and that may seem odd to some because you moved here and applied for a homeowner’s exemption in January 2014. Further, you kept your home in California (where you had your homeowner’s exemption until you sold the home in 2017). Some people may have concerns with this scenario as possible property tax fraud, so please clarify/and explain the scenario.
When I purchased my home in Idaho and applied for a homeowner’s exemption it was because I decided to begin the next phase of my life in Kootenai County. My intention at the time was to begin my move over the next several months and then sell the house I lived in since 1998. Shortly after purchasing my Idaho home, my son’s mother (my ex-wife) passed suddenly and the move that was supposed to happen over three to six months turned into a significantly longer process. Subsequently, I spent some time in Los Angeles to support my son during this difficult time, while going back and forth to Idaho. It took significantly longer than I anticipated.
Removing my homestead exemption in LA was an oversight on my part, largely because I didn’t sell my home as quickly as I expected to due to my ex-wife’s passing and being closer to my son. The tax savings in LA is insignificant (about $70/year). The total tax savings from not removing my California homestead exemption was $210 (2015, 2016 and 2017). I’ve since mailed a check to the LA Treasurer’s office to correct for this oversight.
2) You were voting in California through November 2016 despite having moved here in 2014, so one may allege you were committing voting fraud in California. Explain.
If you’re not registered and voting in two states, then it’s not voting fraud. Further, voter fraud is a stretch as a Republican in a deeply blue state. In 2016 I was still spending a lot of time in Los Angeles to remain close to my son. The 2016 presidential election was extremely important to me and I wanted to vote for President Trump.
3) According to a Transparent California internet search, you receive $19,515.96 in benefits and $138,837.72 for disability per year from the state of California from your experience of working for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office. Is this correct and, if not, can you clarify the numbers?
Your understanding of the numbers is not correct. My pension is $138,837.72, which I earned for my 30 years of service as a Deputy. The $19,515.96 is considered the value for life insurance, health insurance and other types of insurance the county provides. It’s not money paid to me. Most people do not understand what the term “disability” means when it comes to law enforcement, fire fighters and the military. It’s a term used to determine what percentage of retirement income is received and not considered taxable income. In short, it’s a taxation status, not a physical mobility issue.
When I retired, I completed a form that asked if I was ever injured on the job. I was as a result of an arrest I made back in the 1990s. As a result of providing truthful information, I was examined by a doctor who provided his report to a board. The independent board later made a ruling on my injury. Transparent California does not identify what percentage of my retirement income is subject to taxation. Instead, it only presents whether you are in the Disability column or Pension column. It’s a misleading presentation of how retirees are paid and under what circumstances.
I am not disabled like how most people view a person who is disabled. In my case an independent board determined to give me a partial disability tax status over a year after I retired, based upon an injury that I incurred during an arrest back in the mid-1990s. After the injury and subsequent surgery, I went on to complete a full 30-year career no different than a football player returns to his team after recovering from an injury.
The disability does not mean that I’m disabled. It does not mean that I cannot perform everyday duties or am impaired like how a disabled person is typically viewed. In fact, if I went into a DMV today, I would be denied a Disabled Person’s Parking Permit.
Instead, my disability ruling means that part of my taxable retirement income is not affected by some taxes. It does not mean I receive more gross income than if I had not been given a disability rating. I worked until the day I retired from the Sheriff’s Office, completing a 30-year career.
4) Since you are receiving the disability payment and hoping to be the Kootenai County sheriff (so there would be two government payments), some may argue you would be “double dipping” if you are elected? What are your thoughts about this concern?
I have no concerns.
First, I’m not disabled, so my pension income is not a disability payment. It’s a tax status as described in complete detail in another answer.
Second, nowhere does it say that you cannot earn a second paycheck – government or private sector – after you leave one organization. It’s quite common for people to work a full career of 20 or 30 years only to embark on another career. It’s been said that one’s greatest accomplishments occur between the ages of 65 and 75. I’m 56 years old and have a lot of good years ahead of me. Being able to apply my experience and leadership here in Kootenai County is an opportunity to make our community safer during a rapid growth phase and improve the Sheriff’s Office for the future. I want to do this.
5) Please explain what your disability is for. When and how did it happen and what is the nature of the injury?
Since I am not disabled, I’m assuming you’re referring to how my pension is classified. Back in the 1990s I was arresting a suspect. The vehicle pursuit turned into a foot pursuit. I chased him over a fence where he was waiting for me on the other side. I jumped off the fence to gain a point of advantage, tackled the suspect and injured my shoulder in the process. Years later I had surgery and my range of motion was slightly reduced. The injury was not like being shot and paralyzed or left me significantly immobile in any way. While the injury was serious enough to require surgery, I was still able to complete a 30-year career. This really is no different than a football player who suffers an injury, gets surgery and is back in the game.
6) Do you have any injuries that resulted in the disability that would impact your role as sheriff in any way – mentally, physically or otherwise? Please explain.
No. There are none.
7) Since you are receiving a rather large amount of disability, why are you still running for sheriff? (It wouldn’t seem you need the money and wouldn’t it be easier to simply retire to “enjoy life”?)
Since I am not disabled, I’m assuming you’re referring to how my pension is classified. Sadly, the Transparent California website does not provide the percentage of my pension that is not subject to certain kinds of taxes. The money I receive is what a retired Lieutenant with my total years of service would receive.
What does “enjoy life” mean?
For me I enjoyed what I did every day as a Deputy for 30 years. I’ve also enjoyed the last several years focusing on my family. I feel that I’m too young and have too much more to offer in my life to do nothing.
My pension is simply the result that I joined a great organization, put forth significant effort throughout my career and was rewarded with a handsome pension income. I am fortunate and grateful, but it should never be looked at as a liability as a candidate for Sheriff.
My income from investments and pension are mutually exclusive of my running to become the Sheriff. In fact, it should be looked at favorably by voters, because they can be assured that money will not be a factor in my leadership approach as the Sheriff. Most politicians it seems nowadays enter politics with little and leave with a lot. I believe that if one is financially successful prior to politics, then he or she is less swayed by money when in politics. That is a good thing for Kootenai County voters with me as their Sheriff.
I am not running for financial gain. Instead, I am running to serve our community (not to gain from it) and the men and women of the Sheriff’s Office. I see crime going up with rapid growth. I am the only candidate who has the experience of managing law enforcement assets in a growing community. I know what needs to be done as our Sheriff.
8) If you are disabled, how can you be an active member of the local search and rescue team?
I’m not disabled.
My situation is no different than that of a football player who experiences an injury and plays again, as I described in another answer. It was not debilitating, and it was not career ending. In fact, I continued to work almost another 20 years after the injury. Many of those assignments after the injury were physically demanding. The disability (tax status) ruling from that specific (and only) injury is simply how much of my pension is not subject to certain taxes. I do not receive extra money nor am I considered disabled and not able to function fully within my profession or society. A review of all previous on-the-job injuries is part of the retiring process with the county. I am not disabled from my injury.
The Search & Rescue Team found me more than capable of performing the physically demanding tasks required of every Team member. My injury is not an issue for this job or the Sheriff’s.
9) While in California, did you donate $600 (or some other amount) to a mayoral campaign to someone who promoted you and went to prison due to a pay/promotions scandal? Please elaborate on what that was about, clarify and if you understand why some voters here may have a concern about that why or why not?
First, that candidate was not convicted of a “pay-to-play” scandal. Instead, it was obstruction of justice related to an event that occurred in the jail. Further, the Sheriff promoted me, not the mayoral candidate.
Second, I do not remember ever giving any candidate a $600 donation. I recently contacted the treasurer of the campaign at the time and he could not find a single donation from me at any time. I’ve seen the article and have no idea why my name is on that donor list. The article does not appear credible because it states the donation was made in July of 2002, but I was not promoted to Lieutenant until December of 2009, more than seven years later.
The dates of donations don’t correlate to when a lot of Deputies received promotions. It aims to insinuate there is a “pay-to-play” scheme but instead the data within the article exonerates a lot of Deputies, including myself.
Leadership Footnote: Bob was promoted from Sergeant to Lieutenant while working in counter terrorism during 2009 by the Sheriff himself. Bob was often selected for many of the coveted leadership positions because of his thoughtful and approachable demeanor with his Deputies, public safety professionals and the citizenry he served. His objective-oriented management style started with identifying the best quality staff within his unit and then to delegate them the responsibility to meet the department’s objectives and fulfill its mission of protecting and serving. The LASO is the largest Sheriff’s Office in the world with over 18,000 people employed. It is not uncommon for large numbers of Deputies to support leadership causes, which included Bob Norris in 2002 (seven years before his next promotion) when he was already a Sergeant. Unlike thousands of deputies who were significantly more active in support of their leadership, Bob felt it would give the appearance of impropriety and favoritism when promotions became available. In 2004 Bob began the process of obtaining his TOP SECRET/SCI Clearance. This is the highest level of access to the country’s most sensitive information. There is no other Top Secret clearance higher than this. It involves an extensive background analysis of Bob’s finances, his character and personnel file with the Sheriff’s Office. Every two years they review his credit reports, bills and lifestyle for inconsistencies. And yearly he must pass a polygraph lie detector test where they validate that Bob is living within his means, isn’t mishandling top secret information or receiving money from outside sources. It was this continuous vetting of Bob that can give the residents of Kootenai County confidence that they have a solid candidate for Sheriff who will be serving them. As a leader, Bob focused on delegation and accomplishments. The result of this leadership attitude has filtered down to the patrol Deputy, where they can emulate his style to create a more friendly and productive relationship with the community they are dedicated to serving.