Law Enforcement

Pinch A Drunk, Chomp A Pizza

Beer and Pizza have always gone together, but under a new Boise Police internal contest, drivers with too many beers under their belt may inadvertently buy pizza for a cop.

Seems a sergeant came up with the idea which is endorsed by Chief Mike Masterson. Officers who win a monthly DUI arrest contest are rewarded with certificates for pizza, dinners and movie tickets.

Cop brass are adamant about the rules of the game. The night STEP team (selective traffic enforcement program) challenged the other patrol teams with the offer to pay out of THEIR OWN POCKETS if the other teams nab more drunk drivers.

Masterson told the GUARDIAN, “There is no reason you can’t have a little fun in law enforcement. I have no problem with it.”

The feature is in this week’s BOISE WEEKLY by Shea Anderson. He talked to a public defender who didn’t seem pleased with the plan, but offered no real criticism.

The GUARDIAN thinks the idea has potential for other government enforcers. Think of the prizes the State Police boob cops could offer for who ever writes the most tickets for dirty dancing.

The building inspectors could have a heyday with challenges over the most stop work orders issued for improperly vented fans in new bathrooms.

Code enforcement people who issue the most tickets for tall weeds or hedges blocking the view could dine on pizza monthly and maybe even get a movie. Then there are the parking meter maids and butlers–wouldn’t scofflaws be frosted if THEY got a free pizza for hanging the most paper under wiper blades?

From a taxpayer standpoint it is great: Get the employes to pony up money out of their own pockets to encourage colleagues to enforce the law.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. I will buy a pizza a week for any cop that will come to my street (which is 20 mph) and nab all the idiots that go 30-50 mph!

    PLEASE come get these guys – you’ll make your quota and then some!!!!! HELP US!

  2. Hmmm …
    Well, I guess if food rewards are what it takes to get cops to do their jobs, maybe it’s worthwhile.

    Guess the moral of the story is, if you’ve had a few, beware of hungry-looking policepeople.

  3. Guardian, your comparisons are quite funny but way off base if meant seriously.(Sometimes I can’t tell with you)
    Hell, if it gets one more drunk off the road, I’ll buy a pizza as well.

  4. I like it, seems as though the public defender is more worried about his workload increasing…….. or maybe he would prefer the police be only a little zealous? Maybe he would be more comfortable with a half hearted approach to getting drunks off the streets?

  5. Grumpy Old Guy
    Mar 14, 2007, 11:38 pm

    So, the $ is for the pizza and not for the beer or wine to go with, right? Can I get that in writing, please.

    I like the idea of health inspectors getting free meals at the cleanest places in town, myself.

  6. Jon Q Publique
    Mar 14, 2007, 11:43 pm

    Does this mean pizza has replaced donuts?

    With the difficulty BPD seems to be having filling its ranks maybe the pizza incentive will tip the scales in BPD’s favor for some potential recruits. It could be part of the recruitment package – medical, dental, vision, handcuffs, pizza.

    Wonder what incentives would work for firefighters and paramedics.

    Guardian, is that a ’78 Dodge the Trooper is driving?


    EDITOR NOTE–The picture is one the GUARDIAN set up and used on an anti-drunk driving poster printed at personal expense and donated to the State Police. The posters said, “Can You PassThe Test?” and were posted in every liquor store in Idaho around 1979 or so.

  7. Chester,
    I am not a drinker. I don’t think people should drive with any substances in them. The G is almost over the top with his comic relief on this one, but there is a good point to be made.

    The law and those subject to it should not be part of any quotas, games, contests, or rivalry. No doubt this is intended to be harmless rivalry among the brotherhood, but the first question a defense attorney will ask an arresting officer is, “Were you competing in a DUI arrest contest at the time you arrested my client?”

    Logically, a pizza is not going to make the difference between arrest or no arrest with a good cop. Well intended bad idea.

  8. Defense Attorney: Officer, were you competing in a DUI arrest contest at the time you arrested my client?

    Officer: Yes I was… and your client was so drunk that I won double the prize 🙂

    Defense Attorney: OBJECTION! The officer is stating facts not in evidence!

    Judge: Overruled…. you asked the stupid question, what did you expect?

    Could be a funny Saturday Night Live skit!

  9. Mr. Logic,
    Does a contest change the fact that the person was DUI? As long as the officer followed the rules and did everything by the book, what is the problem? I can’t see that the question would have any impact on the arrest…. So if a car sales man sells more cars to get a free trip to Mexico, is that improper? As long as the rules are followed I see this as no more than a motivational tool to make the streets safer…….

  10. Obviously it would be smart for drinkers/drivers to start carrying a few extra free pizza coupons in the car for use next time they seek to bargain during a cop stop.

    Deep down I don’t think the officers are really into stopping a DUI just for a chance at a large pepperoni pie, but like every other unintended action it opens the door somewhere for a lawyer (or a criminal if there’s a difference) to benefit.

  11. Actually I think Mr. Logic is on to something. I don’t practice criminal law but if there is some questionable police gathered evidence used in making the case against a DUI driver the question from defense counsel on officers engaging in the contest would indicate a motive on the part of the police to falsify evidence in order to win the contest.

    Thus introducing reasonable doubt into the proceedings. I don’t mind folks trying to make their jobs more interesting but this doesn’t seem to be a wise practice if the cops are looking for convictions.

  12. You know, little bits of friendly rivalry like this are things only some one in public safety would get, are harmless, and most of all, make the job a little bit more tolerable and fun.

    I am sure there are those who think the last thing a cop should have is a little fun, but this is a thankless job, yet one which requires high standards and attention to detail.

    Attributes you find in cops who love their job, and attributes you don’t find in any employee who doesn’t.

    If little things like this help protect the public and make the job a bit more enjoyable, then it makes for a better police force.

    Im OK with it!

  13. I’m just thankful they don’t win those vagina bagels advertised in Boise’s weekly newspaper at that downtown bagel store last week. Can you imagine if our force had been eating those for the contest? Bless our Boise men in blue.

  14. BrianTheDog
    Mar 15, 2007, 9:15 pm

    If I were a copper, the first thing I would find out is if the Pizza was Flying Pie. If it was Flying pie then I would tazer the driver and force feed them booze, just to eat a big ol pie. Get er done boys!!

  15. Sisyphus and Mr. Logic. Do you actually believe that a member of the BPD would risk their career by falsifying a DUI arrest to get a PIZZA?
    Please tell me your not serious.

    EDITOR NOTE–You guys are all missing the point. Sis and Logic and the G are not questioning integrity of cops at all. They are saying that just the fact of a contest can be used AGAINST the cops who are doing a good job and creat REASONABLE DOUBT about the defendant’s guilt, hence giving cause for dismissal–guilty as the driver may be.

  16. I will buy a pizza, or whatever, each night for any law enforcement officer that arrests anyone breaking the law inside or surrounding the Oak Park Village apartment complex between Targee on the north, Cherry Street on the south, Broxon on the east and Shoshone on the west. Many laws are being broken outside of the apartments, let alone inside the apartments. It is getting like south central Los Angeles!!!!!!!!!! Bring your flak jackets, automatic weapons and put SWAT on alert!!!!! Email me at to claim your pizza, or whatever.

  17. I realize that you are not questioning the integrity of our police force. What I am questioning is whether such a defense is “viable”.

    If it is, we have a terminal problem with the justice system.

  18. Depends on the given facts of the case Cyclops. The jury is charged with finding the Defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Standing alone the fact that they are engaging in this contest means nothing. But coupled with a question of faulty calibration on a breathalyzer then things look a little fishy. It happens.

    I wouldn’t call the problems with our justice system terminal. I’d still match it to any other country’s for fairness. But given all those pronounced guilty and penalized in our system now going free due to the advent of DNA testing, I would agree we still have significant problems. And for this I’m grateful for the reasonable doubt standard. I’m sure you would be too Cyclops if circumstances got you charged by the state.

  19. People arrested for suspicion of DUI are always given the opportunity to prove they are not too impaired to drive by taking a breath test. Pass-you get a ride home/fail-go to jail. An incentive to get drunks off the street is great.

    A pizza for making a bunch of DUI arrests is a small reward for the B.S. an officer usually gets in the process from the drunk (not counting all the paperwork). So if one were to get arrested and thought that the police were motivated not by possibly saving someone’s life but by a dinner, blow into the machine and prove them wrong.

    EDITOR NOTE: This is getting old. We all love cops, they are heroes, they lay their ass on the line, they need a raise, they are all honest.

    The PROBLEM with the contest is that it plants the seed of DOUBT with a jury or even a judge. Enforcing ANY law should not be part of a contest–even if they just get stickers for their report card.

  20. I have less of a problem with the pizza contest than I do with the appearance of Boise police on Cops. It’s a low-rent show and I don’t think it enhances their image. Also, with regard to James’ plea for neighborhood traffic enforcement.. Good Luck. Traffic enforcement in Boise is awful.. and everywhere, not just in neighborhoods.

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