After two years of investigation, internal hearings, and a formal complaint filed with the Idaho Peace Officers Standards and Training Council (POST) a former Boise copper has been banned from ever holding a law enforcement job in Idaho.
The case involved officer Robert M. Berrier, who worked in a narcotics unit with city, state, and federal jurisdictions. This is an example of how the system can do the right thing, even if it is at an agonizingly slow pace.
According to public documents obtained by the GUARDIAN, Berrier entered into a sexual relationship with an informant, failed to disclose her identity to his chain of command or prosecutors, and used his department issued cell phone for nearly 1,000 messages with the woman during the first five months of 2011.
The former copper was suspended on June 22, 2011 and allowed to resign July 31, 2011.
The POST Council serves as the licensing agency for police officers in Idaho and they have had the case for nearly a year. At a recent public meeting in early June the council voted to “decertify” Berrier. The matter has been an open secret within the Boise PD ranks and perhaps even some of the local media. The GUARDIAN had been contacted by anonymous sources more than a year ago, but since the case was a “personnel matter,” no official source would confirm or deny the information.
It is important to note the damage to society in this instance. Both the U.S. Attorney and the Ada County Prosecutor warned that testimony from Berrier or the confidential informant could not be used in prosecuting meth cases–cases that had taken many months and countless man-hours and resources to develop. He was in essence declared “persona non-grata” in the federal court. Until official action was taken to fire Berrier, Boise PD’s image and reputation suffered both from within and outside the department. The good cops didn’t want to work with someone who was not abiding by the rules. Someone obviously broke the “code of silence,” and the public should be grateful.
The official charges included Violation of code of ethics, violation of code of conduct, conduct unbecoming an employee, and violation of the department performance of duty rules. Berrier signed a voluntary stipulation to surrender all POST certifications.
To its credit, BPD has initiated policies that mandate registration of informants and face-to-face contact between informants and police supervisors to insure there are no improper relationships, sexual or otherwise in the future.
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