City Government

New Building Is Good Cop, Bad Cop

After years of bungled attempts at giving Boise’s finest a new cop shop, it looks like the first positive steps have been taken.

Top Cop Mike Masterson wants to split the department into thirds and notes about 55% of the population lives in what will be the new “West Division.” That division and a headquarters for both police and fire administration will be located in a business park off Emerald between Maple Grove and Five Mile. GOOD COP.

In future years he plans to have “East and North Divisions.”

The GUARDIAN broke the story about the NEW HEADQUARTERS April 16, but no one in city government would confirm the fact they were planning to acquire the old HP facility. Negotiations were done in secret with no consultation of citizens who pay the bills. BAD COP.

In a note to the GUARDIAN, Masterson acknowledged overlooking the people who pay the bills:

“I do like the suggestion of involving a greater number of citizens in our strategic planning process and will see we extend invitations to citizens to serve on subcomittees like technology, facilities, problem solving and community policing.” GOOD COP.

The new facility is the culmination of a calculated move on the part of Team Dave and the councilors to go around the voters. Their position is, “We saved up and paid $10 million cash.” True, but they overtaxed us for about 4 years to create the slush fund and never held a bond election. BAD COP

We question the legality of “saving” in advance of spending over multiple year budgets. It is just another way to subvert the right of citizens to vote on long term debt. Regardless of what they call it, collecting taxes over multiple years to pay for a capital expense is long term debt. The council cannot obligate a future council to follow their “earmarks.”

Despite their devious methods, we will have a new city cop shop and the Law Enforcement building on Barrister will become the sole property of Ada County.

EDITOR NOTE–David R. Frazier, editor of the GUARDIAN, won a historic decision in 4th District Court in 2002. Judge Cheri Copsey ruled in a 27 page decision a proposed new police building at 2900 Fairview must have voter approval for the long term debt. The city never had an election for a police building and later challenged the right of citizens to approve long term debt for an airport parking garage.

The legal issues were the same, but the city proceeded. They lost at the Idaho Supreme Court, costing taxpayers more than $23,000 in legal fees, not including what they spent defending their position.

Had Boise prevailed 5 years ago, Masterson would have been saddled with a facility costing several million dollars more than this new one and little chance of implementing his plan to bring the cop shops closer to the people.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Richard Rogers
    Jun 13, 2007, 10:11 pm

    What about the new police station. It appears our property taxes have been paying for this property over the last several years. I thought the city was required by law to have a balanced budget, no debt or no surplus.

    Purposely collecting this money over the last several years for buying a new police station is wrong. This type of expenditure should be approved by the voters. So the Mayor, spend like crazy Dave Beiter has a budget surplus for libraies and now a new police station. Shouldn’t the voters have a say? It appears to me my property taxes have been inflated to pay for these special projects.

    In the city of Boise’s budget this year is there more money being funneled for special projects and how much is my increase related to funding, operation & maintenace of these projects?


  2. A compliment, and a couple of questions.

    First, good job on the story. The local drop cloth took more time to post the story but made up for it by providing less content. Your background on the dubious financing mechanism highlights the degree to which local politician persist in the practice of pathetic administrative practices. (Sorry, but when the alliteration is flowing, it has to go somewhere.)

    Second, is the “new” western building a new cop shop, or is it an additional cop shop? The reason I ask is, if it is a new cop shop then the city’s questionable financing mechanism gets the county an additional building as well. One quasi illegal act nets both the city and the county additional building space. It is sort of like two-fers at a corrupt political happy hour. However, if it is an “additional” cop shop, never mind.

    Third, where is Candidate / Councilman Tibbs on the funding issue? Did he take the high road and oppose it? Or, does loyalty to the force excuse the act of larceny?

  3. BrianTheDog
    Jun 14, 2007, 8:25 am

    I heard a Boise copper on talk radio last week talking about how the mayor saved money by having a “hold back” The city sometimes only has 4 police cars patrolling the streets during the night because they don’t want to pay overtime. Yo Beiter, you can kiss my vote goodbye.

  4. Rod in SE Boise
    Jun 14, 2007, 9:46 am

    Dave, thanks for reporting on this, and keeping track of the shenanigans at city hall. Follow the money!

    The next question is: Would we get better government if the opposition candidate is elected? I think not, just a different set of shenanigans.

  5. Rod,

    Thank God we don’t get all the government we pay for.

  6. As the president of the Boise Police officers union, let me start by saying there is no question we are in need of more space and a facility to house our department.

    Now, as I have long said and still maintain, most of our city leaders and bureaucrats believe they are so much smarter than us and we have to be told what we need. If the city would take a proactive approach to showing every taxpayer WHY there is such a dire need, I believe that the majority would approve it.

    The city leaders continue to show their disdain for all of us “common” folk by simply finding every possible excuse in the world to avoid asking you for more money…no doubt this is a nicer facility than the one we don’t have, but just quit the games and ask the voters to spend YOUR money!!! Wow, what a concept…

  7. What a contradiction: It seems odd that Boise PD will be moving from the Barrister Building, leaving it all to the ACSO– this is for a move out into sprawldom and closer to where ACSO patrols.I still liked one of the early sites best for the PD: Americana-the old Kmart building. Close to the courthouse and connector.

    It is similar to the wrongly-named Central District Health Dept. bldg. way way out on Emerald. It should be called Urban Sprawl Health District.

    EDITOR NOTE–The Americana site was within the 100 year flood plain which is not a good place for an emergency service agency.

  8. This is just a continuing attempt by government to go around the people. It is ironic that should we pass a Prop-13 tax referendum, the legislature can (and will) overturn it – -Yet – -should the Idaho Supreme Court give a clear and unambiguous ruling (like in the Frazier Case), the rule of law converts to the Pirates of the Carribean interpretation: “it is more a guideline than a code”. The only way to win this is to THROW THE BUMS OUT OF THE LEGISLATURE—ALL OF THEM, says I. The scurvy bilge rats !!! Aaughrrr !!

  9. At the risk of repeating myself: when is the city going to do something with the vacant lots it owns on Main Street near the river? I don’t think the city should be in the business of stockpiling real estate which is then not creating any taxes for the county. There doesn’t seem to be any accountability at city hall.

  10. When do the cops get thier million dollar shooting range? Think of the tax dollars we can save if, with proper target practice, they only use a couple of bullets to kill the bad guys instead of the usual half a box. Are we building a tax slush fund to pay for it? Go Team Dave.

    Editor Note–Actually the new range is about ready for hot lead. It will be located Lans fill property, run by the sheriff, and all the agencies in the county will pay based on force strength. No word if Boise will get a discount for being understaffed at present.

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