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Q&A with Chief of Police Corey Coon

Serving our city and coaching our youth

By Abigail Thorpe

Photo by Kiersten Patterson Photography

Corey Coon learned the meaning and value of hard work while growing up on a small dairy farm in Colburn. The middle of seven children, he was never without a job—from gleaning fields to volunteering at the food bank. After graduating from Brigham Young University, Idaho, where he met his wife Lindsay, Coon came back to Sandpoint to raise his own family. Lindsay showed him an ad in the Daily Bee saying the Sandpoint PD was hiring, and the rest was history.

Now Sandpoint’s chief of police, Coon is dedicated to serving the community. In his passions outside of work, his family always comes first, but a close second and third are road trips with his wife on the Harley, and coaching football.

Q. What makes our town such a special, unique place to live?

A. For me, Sandpoint is not just a city or a town, it is special because it is my home. It has been a place I was born and raised. A place I was able to start my family and raise my kids. A place where I was coached and mentored by caring community members who had no problem calling my parents when I stepped out of line. This is a community of volunteers who look out for one another’s best interests. What makes Sandpoint special to me is all of those who are willing to give back to their community.

Q. What has been the most rewarding part of your work with the Sandpoint Police Department?

A. Probably the most rewarding part of my job goes back to the interview question I was asked over 20 years ago. Why did I want to get into law enforcement? I tell people I watched too many old western movies with my dad, but the answer then is the same today—to help people and to make a difference. It is my hope that, when my career is over, I will be able to look back and see I achieved that goal.

Q. What is a main goal or accomplishment you’d like to achieve (or have achieved) during your time as police chief?

A. This goes back to the main reason I got into law enforcement to start with. When I was appointed to be chief of police, it was important for the police department to develop a relationship of trust with our community and bring back a model of community-oriented policing along with the motto “To Protect and Serve.” As the chief of police, I have seen the relationship with our department and community grow and develop a level of trust I have not seen since I was a kid. On a more personal note, I am grateful for the opportunity to have been part of bringing closure to the family and friends of Tammy Bristow.

Q. What are you passionate about in your life outside of work?

A. As my kids have progressed through school, I have had the opportunity to coach them. Both of my boys have graduated high school and my daughter, Madison, prefers I don’t help coach her in dance. She is adamant I have one job as a dad now and it’s to “pay, drive, clap and be quiet.” If you have ever been next to me at a sporting event, you will know I am not the most quiet coach/spectator.

After Jackson and Parker graduated, I switched to officiating football. Coach Knowles asked me to come back and coach the freshman football team, which has been an awesome experience. To be part of these young men’s lives their freshman year and to see them develop and grow in football and in life is a tremendous reward. Nothing makes me smile more than walking into the high school or down a street in uniform and hearing someone yell, “It’s Coach Coon!”

Q. What has been a piece of advice or experience that you’ve carried with you, and that has impacted your life for the better?

A. The importance of setting goals and working toward them. Over my several years of coaching, I always start out with the same four goals for our team. First, show up. You cannot accomplish anything if you don’t first show up. Second, you must be willing to learn. If you are not willing to learn something new you will not be successful. Third, and one of the most important, is to have fun. Life is too short not to have fun. This applies to the players at football practice and in our personal or professional lives. Take time to have fun. Fourth is to win. Win at whatever you’re doing and, if you don’t win, having the knowledge that you left it all on the field.

Q. Are there any last thoughts you’d like to share?

A. I do need to take just a moment to thank our community for helping us reach our goals. We could not be successful as a police department without our community’s help. Thank you for your assistance, thank you for your support and thank you for your compassion. I need to send out a big thank you to my wife, who has put up with me and my profession for the past 20-plus years. It’s not easy being married to a law enforcement officer. Thank you.

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