BOISE, Idaho — In the wake of disturbing sexual assault allegations against Lincoln County Sheriff Rene Rodriguez, KTVB decided to look into what qualifications are required to work as a sheriff in Idaho.
According to the executive director of the Idaho Sheriff's Association, Vaughn Killeen, there are only a few qualifications needed to be elected sheriff.
"A sheriff does not have to be certified, no background other than the electors who vote for that individual into office and you can have a criminal record," Killeen said.
According to Idaho law, the only requirements to be a candidate are being at least 21-years-old, a U.S. citizen and the candidate must live in the county one year prior to the election.
Killeen says it's actually harder to become a deputy.
"That is the catch-22, it's something sheriffs would certainly like to see something done about," Killeen said. "The POST standards in terms of certifying for a peace officer are pretty strict, in terms of misdemeanor crimes, in terms of felony crimes, in terms of even serious traffic background."
The requirements for becoming a police officer or police chief are also tougher than compared to a sheriff.
"We would like to see the playing field leveled," Killeen said.
The sheriff's association has tried to level playing field.
"We went to the legislature several years ago to try and get a minimum standard and the legislature wouldn't go for it," Killeen said.
Rodriguez was recently arrested on felony rape and lewd conduct charges spanning nearly a decade from 2005 to 2014.
He stepped down this week but by law, he wasn't required to.
"That's why we are so keen in terms of ferreting out any type of bad behavior with law enforcement," Killeen said. "But nonetheless, we are concerned because the public does look at us with a little more caution and with a little bit less safety in their community."
It's worth noting that because the charges against Rodriguez are new, they wouldn't have shown up on a background check prior to him becoming sheriff of Lincoln County.