KOOTENAI COUNTY, Idaho -- A former Idaho State Police Trooper (ISP) was convicted and sentenced earlier this week for an unlawful arrest that occurred in 2017.
Prosecutors had initially requested a sentence of 180 days in jail with 170 days suspended, five days of actual jail and an additional five days of service in the Sheriff's Labor program in lieu of the remaining jail time, 60 hours of community service, and one year of unsupervised probation for Joshua Kagarice, the former ISP trooper. He was instead sentenced to paying a $500 fine, 60 hours of community service, and one year of unsupervised probation by Magistrate Judge Patrick McFadden.
The conviction stems from an incident that happened in June of 2017, when Kagarice was still an ISP trooper. During this time, his wife had messaged him regarding a car alarm that was going off in their neighborhood. Kagarice responded to the location at approximately 3:30 in the morning.
The car alarm stopped when he arrived and there was no response when he knocked on the door. While at the scene he used his pepper spray on a dog in the yard.
Thirteen hours later Kagarice returned to the house where the car alarm had been blaring, in his uniform and with his ISP patrol vehicle, and knocked on the door of the house again. This time, a woman answered the door and he demanded identification from her. The woman indicated that she watched Kagarice pepper spray her dog that night.
She also told Kagarice that she called dispatch to figure out why law enforcement was at her house in the first place. Dispatch told her there were no complaints and there was no record indicating why law enforcement would be at her house.
When the woman refused to give her information and tried to close the door, Kagarice stopped her from doing so and ordered her out of the house. Kagarice took hold of the woman and forced her to the ground, placing her under arrest.
The woman was home with her two children who witnessed the event. Kagarice was placed on leave during the investigation and his employment with ISP was later terminated.
Prosecuting Attorney Barry McHugh praised the investigative work of the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office, and Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Destry Randles and Chief Deputy Art Verharen, who prosecuted the case.
McHugh said that while the sentence was not what was requested, the conviction was important. “Law enforcement officers consistently serve our communities with the highest of standards, and conduct beyond reproach. However, when an officer acts inappropriately, it is important for the public to know that those actions will be investigated and, if appropriate, prosecuted. Without that accountability the trust that exists between law enforcement and the community suffers.”
ISP also issued a statement following the conviction, saying "the Idaho State Police expect the highest standards of professional conduct among its employees. The victim in this case called ISP with the initial account of what occurred. ISP requested the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office to conduct a follow-up independent criminal investigation, in which ISP cooperated fully. ISP joins the Kootenai County Prosecutor in promoting trust and accountability in the conduct of law enforcement personnel."