If you want to have a personal chat with Boise’s Police Chief all you need to do is zip past him in traffic–he has made nearly 40 “contacts” with motorists during his first year on the job–along side the road. No doubt those he meets call him “sir” and say “thank-you” when he lets them off with a warning.
While he hasn’t issued any tickets, these cop encounters of the close kind give him a chance to meet the same people the patrol officers encounter and it certainly sends a message to the cops on the beat that the boss is out there “stopping violators.”
He has been on the job a year and a Saturday STATESMAN piece by Patrick Orr reviews some of the low points–like a cop convicted of having sex with a 17-year- old girl and the inquest surrounding the shooting death of the Jones boy. High points include rearranging his patrol assets–eliminating the costly horses for instance–to improve response times to calls and put more officers in the field.
The GUARDIAN agrees that Masterson has made a pretty fair accounting of himself during the year. He has provided some leadership by joining the troops on the beat at night and he is working on a new police headquarters for the future–along with a couple of precinct facilities as well.
Our only real concern–and it is a big one–is the public has been cut out of the loop on what is really a major move that affects all of us. City Council, not the chief, has made the decision to go around the voters.
City Council taxes citizens an extra $2.5 million a year more than they need to run the city budget. The money is put into a “slush fund” with the INTENT–but no mandate –to be used for a police station. Since there is no definitive plan for a location, architectural drawings, size, etc. they can’t really tell how much will be needed. But whatever the decide upon they will have some cash.
The GUARDIAN feels that just like the library, this long term debt should go to the voters in the form of a bond election. That way, THE PEOPLE can decide the location, size, and cost of our police facilities. Boise’s mayor and council will argue that it is simply a “savings account” and they are going to pay cash. They didn’t “save” to pay the library or the Foothills debts and they shouldn’t do it with the police buildings.
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