Nampa police to target repeat offenders

The Nampa Police Department is looking to put the heat on people who can’t stop committing crimes.

Beginning July 10, the department will assign two officers to focus on repeat offenders who the department says are linked to a high number of crimes committed in the Canyon County town.

“In any community, there’s always a small number of high-rate offenders responsible for perpetrating the majority of all criminal acts. This program is a zero-tolerance approach toward career criminals,” police Chief Joe Huff said.

Patrol Officers Joel Woodward and Eric Duke were selected for what is being called the Repeat Offender Program. Both officers “are extremely excited for this opportunity and to serve the citizens of Nampa in this capacity,” said Capt. Curt Shankel, who will direct the program.

Woodward and Duke will meet with detectives and other department officials to draw up a list of people that they’ll keep tabs on. Shankel wants the officers to get to know those people and to encourage them to lead better lives, without harassing them. But to let them know they’ll take action when necessary.

“We want them to improve their lives and become productive citizens, but if they’re out violating the law then we’re going to pick them up,” Shankel said.

The department wants to shift its focus in at least a small way from one where patrol officers react to events taking place and to take a proactive stance with repeat offenders, Shankel said.

“It tends to be a small percentage of people who cause most of the problems,” Shankel said. “We hope to be able to reach some of them to make positive changes.”

He said he imagines it will take a year or so to see a reduction in crime.

The team will also collaborate with other police agencies in Canyon and Ada counties for criminal activity that may be taking place in Nampa and other areas by the same people. The officers will also investigate gang crimes, narcotics violations and conduct surveillance.

“This is a program we are very excited about,” Huff said.

John Sowell: 208-377-6423, @IDS_Sowell