Sheriff Norris Responds to John Grimm’s Allegations

John Grimm addresses the Hayden City Council on April 23, 2024, in Hayden, Idaho.
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HAYDEN, Idaho – In the most recent Hayden City Council meeting on April 23, John Grimm, who referred to himself as a long-time Kootenai County resident and Hayden business owner, used his public comment time to accuse Kootenai County Sheriff Robert “Bob” Norris, Undersheriff Brett Nelson, and other sheriff personnel of serious ethical violations, and alleged they were involved in illegal actions concerning a deputy’s off-duty behavior.

“This is a difficult topic for me,” stated Grimm at the beginning of his remarks to Mayor Alan Davis and the city council. “This morning I had the distinct displeasure of having to sue our county sheriff, Bob Norris, in order to compel him to release public documents on a deputy.”

Grimm went on to allege that Norris, Nelson, and others were involved in a cover-up of a deputy who was suspected of driving under the influence when he crashed a vehicle while off-duty and left the scene of the accident without reporting it. Grimm did not publicly name the deputy, but alluded to other instances where documents concerning the same deputy were acquired.

“The responsibility for what happened shortly after the crash sits squarely on the shoulders of Sheriff Norris, the undersheriff, and the command staff that failed to speak up,” Grimm asserted. He said he had documents as proof. “He [the off-duty deputy] did not face any charges that the rest of us in the room would likely have faced if we did the same thing.”

When the mayor asked, “John, can you do me a favor … is there a point for the city? It sounds like you have had an incident with the sheriff.” Davis’ remarks were an attempt to see what city business Grimm was addressing.

“As I stated in the beginning, I don’t think Sheriff Norris is trustworthy,” Grimm replied. “You guys need to be careful when you’re dealing with this person.” Since Grimm had exceeded the standard three minutes for public comment, Davis moved on with the meeting. 

Sheriff Norris fired back at Grimm’s allegations with a press release dated April 25. “The purpose of this press release is to correct John Grimm’s statements made at the Hayden City Council meeting on April 23, 2024. What he said is extremely misleading, false, and could erode the public’s trust in its Sheriff’s Office.”

Sheriff Bob Norris (Photo courtesy of Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office)

In the release, Norris refuted several of Grimm’s statements. “Mr. Grimm has once again got his facts wrong. There was a criminal investigation conducted by the Idaho State Police. The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office was not involved in that investigation. Mr. Grimm inferred that the sheriff influenced the prosecution. This is false. The Kootenai County Prosecutor recused himself and asked the Shoshone County Prosecutor’s Office for an unbiased evaluation of the case. The sheriff did not have any communication with the Shoshone County Prosecutor’s Office about this case.”

As to the lawsuit concerning employee records, Norris reminded the public that there are laws that govern what can be released on an employee. Additionally, “the sheriff is not involved with determining what documents are released. The custodian of records and county civil attorney determine what is released.”

Norris went on to dispute Grimm’s suggestion that sheriff personnel lied about deputies. “The sheriff and all of our employees take honesty and integrity seriously. There is zero compromise when it comes to dishonesty or lack of integrity within the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office. Mr. Grimm knows better and should provide proof of such an allegation.”

Grimm was one of four candidates in the 2020 Republican primary for Kootenai County Sheriff. Norris won the primary race with 44.27 percent of the vote, Grimm came in fourth with 10.24 percent. Norris went on to win the November 2020 general election against two opponents, Mike Bauer (IND) and Justin Nagel (LIB), with 68 percent of the vote.