City Government

Boise Council Fumbles Ombudsman Job

ombudsmanAlmost a year ago on October 17, we inquired about the lack of oversight on Boise Police with the departure of the OMBUDSMAN in June 2013.

Council President Maryanne Jordan told the GUARDIAN, “The position is important to the community. Next steps should be forthcoming shortly.”

The next step apparently came in January of this year when the city advertised a watered down JOB OPENING for the post which we felt was in conflict with city code.

We may have scared off either applicants or the council because the position doesn’t appear to have been filled, unless we missed something during out of town work on the day job.

Must be the hockey puck game over parking meter matters with ACHD has taken center stage. We still favor a police or “public safety commission” citizens board to include fire department. The idea would be to advise the two chiefs on budget and citizen matters and retain the ombudsman to investigate “critical incidents.”

Comments & Discussion

24 comments for “Boise Council Fumbles Ombudsman Job”

  1. why are we rehashing this… it does not matter if the position is filled or not… BPD will do what ever they want… don’t bother hiring anyone… that will save the city 100 large.. or so

  2. Grumpy ole Guy
    Aug 10, 2014, 7:43 pm

    Why is/was the Ombudsman limited to Police Affairs? I realize/remember that the terrible spate of Police shootings caused the original appointment; but, Ombudsman positions elsewhere usually have broader powers and responsibilities than “just” oversight of police matters. Would be nice to have that here, too.

    EDITOR NOTE–Grumpy, we agree with you. It would be nice to have some oversight of all areas of city government. It would also be nice to have a commission to give direction to the police and fire chiefs regarding the needs and desires of citizens as well as establishing policies. Personnel matters should not be part of the commission duty, but budget, equipment purchases and other things should have “civilian” control.

  3. ………and the current “chief” of police is breathing one helluva a sigh of relief…….good luck in Wisconsin……………………………………………One hundred bucks says they somehow manage to fill the spot the day after this guy “retires” (officially).

  4. Dave… sit down.. I don’t want you to fall over when you read this. I agree with you on all points. It is really sad that we so desperately need yet another level of supervision for managers who ALL make salary’s that most of us will only dream about, especially in this state. It is painfully evident that an industry that has the ability to take a citizens rights away when ever they want is in dire need of adult supervision.
    We here in BOI are incredibly lucky that an incident like what is playing out in Mo. right now has not happened here…yet.

  5. It is always my belief if an organization can do without someone or something for an extend period of time, then it/the person is not really needed.

    So Council President Maryanne Jordan statement of, “The position is important to the community” must not be true.

    It was wasteful spending before and will be again.

  6. I believe we have real jeopardy here without this position competently filled. We lack real media/reporting in the valley and the City is unwilling to be accountable for problems.

    I’d like to see the position filled by a non-cop who has an understanding of law and social sciences.

    Perhaps we could recruit a departmental professor from BSU or the ACLU to do it until finding an appropriate fit.

  7. Easterner you have a point… we have went for how long with out an ombudsman… we are going to go how long with out a chief in the POPO… if we can go for 2 or 3 months without a chief… we can go for ever without one.. why do we need to pay for yet another rubber stamper to say “my boy’s ditnt do no wrong”

  8. Interested Citizen
    Aug 14, 2014, 9:34 am

    They ALWAYS do nothing wrong!!!!

    And, don’t forget it, or you may be next!!

  9. Foothills Rider
    Aug 14, 2014, 3:30 pm

    http://www.boiseombudsman.org/media/227/CodeChapter2-22.pdf

    The word “recommendation” shows up at least 13 times in the attached 5.5 pages describing duties of this office, established by Council in 1999: Recommendations to BPD, to the Mayor, to Council. Nowhere is action ‘required’ to be taken on a ‘recommendation.’ This office has no independent power to effect change, even if it determines change is warranted.

  10. Vince Miller
    Aug 14, 2014, 8:05 pm

    Why should he have power to effect change? He is not in charge of anything, he is a worker bee. His job is to identify issues and then the people the city have in charge make changes. Why should anyone they put in there, that will probably have hardly any police or any other real experience be allowed to make changes. I agree he should recommend and that’s it.

  11. ….and whatever the Ombudsman knew about certain select activities within the police department over the past 3 years, he took with him to his new oversight job somewhere in a neighboring state. It’s a meaningless political position and was when it was instituted 15 years ago. Unless journalists and CITIZENS want an honorable police department, whoever appointed to this position will always be under the thumb of the powers calling the shots. In other words the ombudsman was as politically correct as the mayor and the “chief” of this department. Unless a police oversight group has subpoena power and includes more than ONE individual don’t waste the city’s time and money. It is my understanding as well that the ombudsman’s office is located right next to the “chief’s” office as well. How convenient.

    EDITOR NOTE–Blaskowitz, your source of information is simply wrong. The ombudsman office is in city hall downtown. Coppers are at City Hall West. “Murphy’s Law” was crafted to provide the ultimate in independence without usurping the authority of the chief, mayor, and city council. We all benefit from open communication, but the ombudsman position is quite isolated from politics and cops. We would still like a citizen’s board to include an ombudsman–both of which would still be “advisory.”

  12. ..”isolated from from politics and cops”. You are naive at best. And maybe a hot shot reporter should look into “office Positioning” just for the sake of “clarity. We all know that the Ombudsman is “part of ” the mayor’s office. Just exactly “where” that office is located is the question.

  13. …but then again who cares. The ombudsman blew town months ago.

  14. John Q. Public
    Aug 15, 2014, 2:39 pm

    Ask yourself : “Why does the Boise Police Department vehemently refuse Body Cams, Vehicle Cams, Vehicle GPS, and Peer Accreditation?”

    And why is Mayor Beiter acquiescing to the Police Department by quietly gutting the Office of the Community Ombudsman?

    Want more professional police services in your community?

    DEMAND they be accredited by CALEA [ http://www.calea.org ]. In an age where we are constantly advised to only utilize services by accredited providers – be they plumbers, doctors, or electricians – how is it that we don’t expect professional accreditation from those who hold our liberties and out very lives in their hands?!

    Though not a panacea for all that ills America’s police, accreditation from CALEA is perhaps the most important first step in demilitarizing and professionalizing your community’s police.

    EDITOR NOTE–Not a spokesman for coppers, but they have been testing body cams and probably will be using them once the protocol and training are complete. Your points are well made and worthy of consideration.

  15. Interested Citizen
    Aug 15, 2014, 7:44 pm

    And, remember this:

    I seem to recall, what, a 14 month investigation into BPD misconduct and improprieties that Bieter, Masterson, and others hardly breathed a word of to the media, taxpayers, voters, and such!!!

    Is this openness and transparency and good communication?

    The BPD must be the biggest expense in the budget by far. Where is the accountability??

    What is Bieter trying to hide?

  16. Interested Citizen
    Aug 15, 2014, 9:35 pm

    It is appalling that Bieter and Masterson did not feel more compelled to report more to those who write their paychecks regarding this serious matter and lengthy investigation by the Feds!!!

  17. citizen… just a question… what good do you think it would have done to release the info. Apathy in this valley and blind faith in LE here would not be swayed. Lets face it LE is not going to air their dirty laundry what good would that do them. It would only show that they are not better than the average person…We see the mentality of the “average cop” when we look at incidents in other communities. Watch CNN right now if you need proof.

  18. Citizen: that ONE issue alone renders the entire concept of police oversight in Boise meaningless. There are two and ONLT two explanations for the absolutely incredible apathy on the part of our local journalists and the citizens concerning this Federal probe:

    1. The ombudsman was completely aware of the entire episode that the Chief claims he was ignorant of and chose not to report to the citizens what the issue pertained to or;

    2. The ombudsman was completely UNAWARE of what took place and did not report anything to the citizens because he was left out of the loop (cops and politics) and he honestly was unaware of what happened. The only way we will ever know is to ask this man who no longer lives in this state.

    Unfortunately in either scenario it simply shows that this one-man band was totally meaningless. I have stopped wasting my time reading about complaints on the ombudsman’s site concerning “attitude”, “demeanor” or “language” with the local constables. A total and complete waste of my money.

    EDITOR NOTE–That issue was indeed poorly handled. If there was any culprit it was the FBI and U.S. Attorney. Coppers have to talk to the ombudsman as a “condition of employment” which means they give up their 5th amendment rights. In exchange, none of the info received during interviews can be used for criminal prosecution. As a practical matter, the ombudsman has to wait for a criminal investigation to be completed before he can step in. While it may have been a bit delayed–due to the foot dragging of the FBI–the chief did indeed fire the bad copper. That was a “personnel matter” off limits to public records. When the officer’s “professional certification” was revoked the GUARDIAN had the first shot at exposing the matter and we did so. http://boiseguardian.com/2012/06/25/boise-copper-banned-from-idaho-law-enforcement/
    A year later the STATESMAN did a rehash, but by then the statute of limitations had run out.

  19. This statement bothers me….Coppers have to talk to the ombudsman as a “condition of employment” which means they give up their 5th amendment rights. In exchange, none of the info received during interviews can be used for criminal prosecution. Cops get way too many advantages as it is an this pseudo immunity wreaks of just one more in a line of special privileges given to cops. Treat them the same as the rest of us.

    EDITOR NOTE–It is sort of a “Catch-22.” If a copper retains his 5th rights, he does not have to talk to the ombudsman for fear of self incrimination in future criminal proceedings. If there is no pending criminal proceeding, he HAS to tell the truth or face dismissal. In one sense it actually gives the city TWO chances to weed out a bad copper…criminal investigation followed by departmental sanctions for policy or rule violations.

  20. Interested Citizen
    Aug 16, 2014, 6:12 pm

    Editor:

    The Feds cannot be blamed for Bieter, Masterson, and Murphy’s failures to report and be accountable to the citizens and taxpayers!

    Further, why are we accepting the ruse and charade that it was only one officer and one incident that invited the Feds?

    I do NOT buy that!!!!

  21. Interested Citizen
    Aug 16, 2014, 6:32 pm

    Patterns of misconduct, repeated instances of misconduct, and multiple instances of such, now, THAT invites the Feds!!

  22. Agreed. No doubt since no indictments were handed down (which can mean a number of different things), the power brokers in the PD are more than willing to let the dust settle until individuals retire, secure new employment or quit and take what they may know with them. There won’t be any internal discipline of any kind of that I am certain. To do so would admit that just maybe the Feds were on to something but it didn’t quite rise to the federal level or (in my opinion) some “technicalities were encountered” and to do so would cause some uncomfortable questions to be asked. One things is for sure: this city will NEVER know the truth.

    And the question STILL must be asked: where was the ombudsman during this entire bit of shennanigans?

  23. John Q. Public
    Aug 19, 2014, 2:18 pm

    EDITOR NOTE DISCLAIMER–
    WE ARE POSTING THIS COMMENT ONLY FOR ITS LINKS. THE TOPIC IS OMBUDSMAN AND THE LACK OF ACTION BY THE CITY COUNCIL TO LEAVE THE POST OPEN MORE THAN A YEAR.

    If a Police Officer knowingly and willingly violates the Constitution they have SWORN to uphold and protect, then they are a Traitor and an Enemy of the State (aka “We the People…”).

    Those who are apologists for traitors are traitors themselves.

    National Police Misconduct Reporting Project @ http://www.policemisconduct.net

    Photography Is Not A Crime @ http://photographyisnotacrime.com

    18 U.S. Code § 242 – Deprivation of rights under color of law @ http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/242

    The FBI is the lead federal agency for investigating color of law abuses @ http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/civilrights/color_of_law

    Why Police Officers Lie Under Oath @ http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/03/opinion/sunday/why-police-officers-lie-under-oath.html?pagewanted=all&;_r=0

    Police officers who have been busted perjuring themselves (lying) in Court are referred to as “Brady cops” and are put on “Brady Lists” by the Prosecutor’s Office, and are never called as witnesses by the Prosecution because even they can’t trust them. For example : http://www.scribd.com/doc/40127684/Phoenix-Police-Department-BRADY-LIST

    Constitution of the United States of America @ http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution.html

    LAW ENFORCEMENT CODE OF ETHICS & CONDUCT (Example) @ http://police.cityofboise.org/media/469928/september-2013-bpd-policy-manual-public-copy.pdf

  24. …..aw yes. The Brady List. It’s certain that the Brady Bunch wouldn’t want the public to gain access to that little gem.

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