Idaho Sheriffs Use Deceptive Marketing Scheme, Plan To Dump Telemarket Firm

We all get the dinner time phone calls from someone representing the coppers asking us to donate to their “fight against drugs.”

The GUARDIAN editor hung up on them a few weeks ago and subsequently got a very official looking bill for a $25 pledge to the Idaho Sheriff’s Association with an address on State Street at one of those private mail drop places. The letter with a huge “IDAHO SHERIFFS’ ASSOCIATION” heading is couched in language aimed at the sympathies of naive citizens.

A brochure with fake “before and after” shots of models purporting to be druggies is included in the package–it reminds us of those old VD pictures we had to view in junior high sex ed classes 50 years ago in Michigan. Also in the pack was a decal for your car that some people construe as a “get out of jail free card” to show coppers they donated to the cause.

A letter uses terms like “war on crime…focus the lives of youth away from drugs and alcohol…drug eradication program…scholarships for law enforcement.” The letter also mentions the Association has, “secured the assistance of Community Safety, LLC.” In plain English that means the Association has loaned its good name to a telemarketing/direct mail scammer that keeps about 80% of the donations.

The GUARDIAN contacted Vaughn Killeen, executive director of the Association who confirmed the letter and bill were sponsored by his group. He also said he was working to terminate the relationship and noted “some deceptive practices by the vendor.” He favors a directing marketing campaign for funds.

Killeen went on to say the Association makes about $40,000 a year from the marketing program. Based on the discussion with Killeen that means the private marketing outfit takes close to $200,000 in the name of drugs and coppers from Idahoans.

We sympathize with the purported goals of the Sheriffs’ Association, but hooking up with deceptive marketing firms only serves to undermine their cause. The Association lobbies on behalf of its members, conducts jail inspections to insure compliance with health and security standards, and serves as a legitimate forum for exchange of ideas and training standards. Hustling citizens for cash is tawdry endeavor they should avoid in our opinion.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Good riddance, I hope, to this telemarketing firm. I sometimes answer “unknown caller” calls that turn out to be on behalf of the Sheriff’s Assn. I remind them that “spoofing calls” are now ILLEGAL in Idaho and hang up. I like the cute little sticker but have ceased contributions because of pushy marketing practices and now donate elsewhere. Dump them Vaughn and pocket the extra money for good causes!

  2. Oh Please… Please please please give us a list of the home phone numbers of those responsible for all the bothersome calls

  3. The Idaho Sheriffs is not the only agency to use these scammers. Various Firefighter charities also use the same type tactics.

  4. Rod in SE Boise
    Mar 20, 2010, 6:34 am

    Don’t we pay taxes to “fight against drugs” and for the “war on crime” and to “focus the lives of youth away from drugs and alcohol”? And aren’t these “wars” on drugs and crime nearly total failures?

  5. Just because they use a Telemarketing company I never donate. Figure it’s a scam from the beginning.

  6. Dean Gunderson
    Mar 20, 2010, 12:41 pm


    Unfortunately (truly) the images used in the scam brochure aren’t actors (unless these meth-heads actually have SAG cards).

    These are mug shots collected of the same folks over a period of months (or years) by the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Department. They were all repeat drug (meth) offenders, and the images were compiled to provide a graphic depiction of the depravatory effects of meth on addicts.

    It’s unfortunate that the images have been used in such a way, since it does cast doubt on their authenticity. But you can go to the Multnomah County Sheriff website, or Google “life on meth”, to see for yourself.

  7. So what Dean is saying is that the Multnomah Co. Sheriff’s Dept. did quite the poor job of “rescuing” these people from the ravages of meth.

    So tell me, Idaho Sheriff’s Ass’n, are you doing as bad a job as the other county, and if so, what are you doing with the donations?

    The police don’t save people from meth, they just put them behind bars. Once released, they’re going back to their habit.

  8. Wow, I must be on meth. Those pictures look like me on Monday and later, me on Friday.

    Sorry, but coppers are only one degree away from criminals. How can they resist the temptation to get something for nothing? Just like the folks they put behind bars. Boise coppers + credibility? Am I missing something here?

  9. Rod in SE Boise
    Mar 21, 2010, 1:22 pm

    Photos of addicts from Multnomah County? So, part of the scam is that they are too lazy to find photos of addicts from Ada County.

    Drug wars are nothing but scams.

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