Born and raised in Bonners Ferry, Travis Stolley joined the United States Marine Corp soon after graduating Bonners Ferry High School in 2005, serving nearly nine years before receiving an honorable discharge and returning home. It wasn’t long before he was once again in uniform, this time in Bonners Ferry Police Department blue. Now, with sheriff Dave Kramer planning to retire, Stolley has announced his bid to continue serving Boundary County as sheriff in 2024, running as a Republican.
“I just feel it’s the right thing to do, the right time,” he said.
Stolley earned a bachelors degree in environmental science and planned to become a game warden on leaving the Marines, where he served as a flight mechanic working on engine, drive and rotor systems of the AH1W Cobra as well as the UH1N Huey and the UH1Y Huey. He was a triple systems door gunner/aerial observer on the Huey, deployed to Afghanistan, with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit on the USS Iwo Jima and twice to Iraq, rising to the rank of staff sergeant.
But fate had other plans, pulling him to serve closer to the people of his community as a law enforcement officer. He’s served as school resource officer, patrol corporal with the police department and as a patrol deputy and field training officer and detective with the sheriff’s office, earning his advanced Idaho POST certification along the way.
About six months ago, he stepped away from law enforcement, intent focusing on his business endeavors and his family; wife Jessica, also a Bonners Ferry native, son Alex, 14, and daughter Kaylee, 12, but once away, he realized he missed it.
“In the Marine Corps and in law enforcement a strong sense of service is instilled in you, a sense of duty,” he said. It wasn’t long before he was back, on level one reserve status. It was the right thing to do, he said, at the right time.
He didn’t make the decision to run for sheriff lightly, first discussing it with Jessica and the kids to make sure they supported the idea and then to police chief Brian Zimmerman and sheriff Kramer, both of whom he’s known nearly all his life and both of whom, he said, encouraged him.
“I have great respect for both,” he said. “I wouldn’t be here without their support.”
Filling Kramer’s big shoes, he acknowledged, will be no easy task.
“Sheriff Kramer did a great job,” Stolley said. “My goal will be to build on that.”
His focus, he said, would be to emphasize personnel accountability and promote openness and transparency.
“We have good people in important positions,” he said, “and I want to make sure everybody knows their job and that we are all doing our job right,” he said. He wants to work on recruiting and retaining high quality personnel, bemoaning the fact that key players on the sheriff’s team, including patrol sergeant Bobby Goad, will soon be retiring.
He wants to provide every member of his office opportunity for current training, to get everyone to a satisfactory standard and then focus on expanding from there. To work on staffing shortages in multiple departments across the board including the civil department, to emphasize the safety of road and detention deputies
He wants to forge a closer working relationship between the sheriff’s office and the Bonners Ferry Police Department, to work together with the police department and the school district to ensure the safety of the county’s schools.
He’s also concerned about the aged jail, certified for the first time under Kramer’s watch.
“Kramer has done a phenomenal job with the jail and getting it certified,” he said, “but the facility won’t last a lot longer. There are roof issues, foundation issues, plumbing issues and more that will have to be addressed, working with county commissioners and the community.”
Not looking for major changes, Stolley said he instead offers a fresh new perspective and promises to be accessible, set high standards and work to see that expectations are being met.
“I care about my community and I’m committed to public service,” he said. “I want what’s best for our community. I want to continue to serve the community I and my wife grew up in. I want to strengthen the bond of trust between the community and the Boundary County Sheriff’s Office.”