City Government

Copper Rides Likely To Change



Boise Coppers are likely to have a slightly European flare with their ride matching their duties as Chief Mike Masterson and topper copper command staff look for ways to save taxpayer dollars in these tough times.



Throughout Europe and South America, police use compact size vehicles which are used mostly for transportation rather than high speed pursuits and fast track driving. They have vans for hauling both prisoners and extra coppers. We even spotted coppers in Argentina hitch hiking–and gave them a ride.

A GUARDIAN reader told us it costs between $900 and $1600 to paint the special blend metallic blue (it just looks black) on the trunk and hoods of the big old Ford Crown Vics. Assistant Chief Pat Braddock tells us it is only a mere $600 per unit and they already stopped painting the surplus Crown Vics all white prior to surplus sales.

We talked to the chief about the future of the fleet and he told the GUARDIAN we can expect to see some smaller rigs being piloted by coppers in lieu of the big rig Crown Vics. He also said the day may come when the cars are a single solid color with the usual decals on the doors, etc.

“Not only are the smaller units cheaper to operate, I can get them for about $6,000 less and save around $120,000 on a typical purchase of 20 vehicles,” said Masterson.

We noted some of the newer vehicles already are able to use E-85 flex fuel, but that corn whiskey blend is probably not going to prove very cost effective after studies are completed which factor in all the costs.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. The smaller cars do make sense/cents for most patrol duties. Highway and freeway units should probably stick with the Grampsmobiles. As for the corn whiskey….keep it for drinking. I tried it for a few tanks in the wife’s minivan. Conclusion- horrible mileage in town and lousing starting on cold mornings.

  2. We oughta get them the Smart for 2. Big enuff for a copper and one prisoner, and really cute.

    I like the idea of them hitchhiking, though — although I think it might be illegal on the Interstates.

    Unfortunately, BPD got rid of its horses.

    Good to know they’re considering alternatives, though.

  3. mike masterson
    Nov 19, 2008, 6:24 am

    Just one point of clarification. The smaller more fuel efficent vehicles we are consiering will replace the unmarked midsize cars we have in our fleet. Our driving behaviors and needs in these areas demonstrate we can make immediate cost saving and efficiency improvements. For example, approximately 95% of my driving is alone with no other passengers and i don’t have the need to carry safety equipment in my car. THe change wil be easy for me. I would like to clarify one point in your article. There are no plans at this time to repalce the Ford Crown VIctoria’s the mainstay of marked police patrol car needs for Boise Police and our profession now for over a decade. There uni-body construction and safety platform is critical to the needs of officers working in those high risk postions. The time may come where we are forced to reconsider these specialized vehicles (word is that Ford plans on discontinuing production of the Crown Vic model in the near future) but for now we are satisified with their overall performance.

  4. Tom Anderson
    Nov 19, 2008, 9:41 am

    I’d bet there are a lot of used Crown Vic’s out there right now at very low prices.

    Maybe the police should consider buying cars a few years old, they could probably save $10,000 or more per car.

  5. Actually, I think the word is Ford will be discontinuing itself in the near future, never mind the Crown Vics.

  6. Yeah, that is what they said about the Cop bikes and then they go buy expensive BMW Cop bikes to drive around to give drivers tickets on!! Money well spent……….

  7. When making comparisons it is importat to realize that many South American countries (I’m not sure about Europe) have “Transit Police” who enforce traffic laws exclusively as well as regular police who concentrate on the more serious crimes.

  8. The Boise Picayune
    Nov 22, 2008, 8:18 am

    No more one-up-manship with Garden City, with the purchase of BPD SUVs?

    Reasonable vehicles with conscientious officers behind the wheel who are willing to obey the traffic laws they enforce when they’re not Lights and / or Siren (vis-a-vis racing down Americana at about 45 to get to the Dry Cleaners at 15th and Washington before quitting time), would be nice.

    As far as speed? How about over 18,000 Miles per Second?

    You can’t outrun a radio!

  9. No joke about obeying the rules. I see California stops all the time. Then there are the bike cops. They must think the sidewalk is a bike path. I saw cops riding the sidewalk this last week.

  10. I think urban coppers should use scooters and not the big BMW motorcycle rigs. Or Honda 650 dual-sport bikes. They are cheaper and save gas and they could bust across a lawn or median no problem if they had to apprehend a perp. Big BMW’s are a waste in the city and expensive to maintain/operate.

  11. Tech Jockey
    Nov 25, 2008, 4:52 pm

    Hey Clancy, I too used to think riding a bike on a sidewalk was illegal, but in Boise, bikes on sidewalks are the same as pedestrians.

    A. A bicycle may be operated upon a sidewalk and upon and within a crosswalk, except where
    prohibited by official traffic control devices.
    B. Any bicyclist riding upon a sidewalk, or across a road way upon and within a crosswalk, shall
    yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible warning before overtaking and
    passing such pedestrian.
    C. A bicyclist riding upon a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and within a crosswalk, shall have
    all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances. (Ord. 4406-
    A, 6-11-79)

  12. Here’s an idea to save some money if the costumed clowns are truly interested.

    Stop all take home privileges that the patrol idiots currently enjoy. There is a BPD patrol moron who lives in my neighborhood in West Meridian and he drives his crown back and forth several times a day. Parks it out on the street and hangs out at his house.

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