If you notice any Boise coppers on choppers along the scenic byways of Boise County this summer, they aren’t lost. They’re just using the City-owned uniforms and BMW motorcycles to earn a little overtime–at about $56 an hour.
It’s all part of a highway safety grant funded by U.S. taxpayers and administered by the Idaho Transportation Department Office of Highway Safety. We talked to the brass at Boise PD and they stressed the request for assistance patrolling the state highways of Boise County came from the State, not Boise PD. From their perspective they are just helping a neighbor. They didn’t apply, they were requested. Boise brass say as many as four motor officers at a time will travel to Boise County, but only when it doesn’t interfere with their City mission.
The gig runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day and total cost is $35,000. The city adds a 15% administrative fee to cover the additional retirement and benefit costs for the extra hours which brings the average rate paid to $65. The deal was approved by the entire Boise City Council.
An agreement between Boise City and the Boise County Sheriff gives Boise coppers authority to write tickets and make arrests outside the city, but the citizens of Boise accept total liability for any acts by the officers including injury to themselves or others, damage to the motorcycles–ANYTHING. There is NO BENEFIT TO THE CITIZENS OF BOISE, only risk.
Bankrupt Boise County sought help through the state transportation office which in turn came to Boise PD. The GUARDIAN talked to Idaho State Police brass about the arrangement and one commander said the ISP had not been contacted about the project aimed at enforcing a crackdown on agressive and speeding motorcycles. ISP has a fleet of motorcycles assigned to the Boise District.
“We would love to have some overtime for our guys. Instead they went to the highest paid department in the state even though our troopers have statewide authority and RESPONSIBILITY to enforce the law on state highways,” said the commander.
For Boise City taxpayers it’s a “lose-lose” proposition. We accept the liability, toss in the use of the motorcycles for free and get nothing in return. There are hundreds, if not thousands of riders who PAY to ride the Boise-Idaho City-Lowman-Horseshoe Bend-Boise loop. That’s why officialdom thinks it is worthwhile to spread some cash to rent coppers on choppers in the name of safety.
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