BONNERS FERRY — Boundary County Sheriff’s Deputy Alan Schleif joined the Sheriff’s Office on Aug. 26. Schleif came on board having 20 years previous law enforcement experience, with 10 years prior to that working in private security.
Originally from Wisconsin, Schleif moved to Boundary County about three and a half years ago. He considered himself semi-retired at the time, and had not planned on getting back into law enforcement, but he was enticed to return by friends up here.
“I hadn’t planned on getting back into law enforcement, but knowing some of the guys up here, they said we need some good people up here,” he said. “We have a good crew up at the sheriff’s department, so that brought me back.”
Schleif said that he is happy with his decision.
Growing up, Schleif’s uncle was a firefighter. Inspired by that, he planned to follow in his footsteps.
“I always wanted to be a fireman. It was something I was kind of planning to do when I was small,” said Schleif. “I’m not sure what changed it to law enforcement — I just knew that I didn’t want to be stuck in an office somewhere.”
His father was an electrician and he saw how many times he was laid off or had to change jobs.
“I wanted something steady and consistent,” explained Schleif. “Just seeing the cops in the neighborhood and talking to them — it inspired me.”
When he first went into law enforcement, Schleif served in a small town, then later moved into the big city environment, where was involved in a variety of different special assignments there, from mountain biking, to foot patrol, to SWAT operator.
“I was a K-9 handler in Denver, federal reserve for about five years with a bomb dog,” said Schleif.
His K-9, Bella, is now retired and living happily with him and his family in Boundary County. Schleif is enjoying his job here and being back in a small town environment again.
“People are more respectful toward law enforcement,” explained Schleif. “It is a closer knit community; people are looking out for one another more and they are usually ready to help out law enforcement — more so than in a big city.”
Schleif spoke about his philosophy as a law enforcement officer.
“It all comes down to respect. If you respect the people, they will generally give you the same respect back,” he said. “Everybody screws up from time to time — you don’t have to jam them up with tickets or throwing them in jail — that isn’t the answer to everything. Sometimes it is a matter of just talking to them. You can work things out a lot easier that way.”
Boundary County Sheriff Dave Kramer has been happy to have Schleif as part of his team.
“With his experience and personality, we are really grateful to have him as part of the Sheriff’s Office,” said Kramer. “He is an asset to the community.”
When the badge comes off for the day, Schleif is enjoying what Boundary County has to offer.
“I like hunting and fishing, just being outdoors — riding ATV around and exploring the area that we are in,” said Schleif. “There is lots to see and do.”