City Government

More BPD Tickets Likely In Future

More than a third of the anticipated Boise City budget deficit will hit the coppers according to an internal memo being circulated at the cop shop, saying they need to come up with a plan to save $1.2 million.

While the document is clearly a “work in progress,” one of the items bound to raise some concerns is the potential of raising some $89,000 cash by writing more tickets. This practice reeks of “quota” and the GUARDIAN is not comfortable with the thought, knowing that nearly half of the shortfall is the result of a salary increase won by the police union, but enacted midway through the budget period.

While no layoffs are contemplated in the budget plan, there will be a hiring freeze and 12 positions will go unfilled.

Top copper Mike Masterson has previously announced plans to downsize THE FLEET–he calls it “right sizing”–and estimates a savings of more than $113,000 by eliminating big cars for non-patrol functions. He anticipates an additional $105,000 in fuel savings.

Masterson also proposes charging businesses $100 for responding to false alarms with no “free” responses. That makes sense because in reality, private firms are “selling” the services of the BPD coppers…”buy our service and we will call the coppers for you.”

You can see the complete document by clicking on MORE below.

It won’t come as a surprise that we must revise our FY09 budget due to the economic changes in our community. The problem arises from the loss of certain intergovernmental revenues (IGR) e.g. sales tax, interest income, and building and development fees resulting from less construction. Total projected IGR loss for the City exceeds $3.2 million dollars. Each department is assigned a percentage of this shared revenue and our loss/share is $1, 200,000.

We are taking this opportunity to share with you a list of cost containment ideas generated by leaders of the department. We want to be extraordinarily open with the organization in developing and sharing our ideas because these decisions impact all of us. There will be no surprises. The situation is not dire, but serious enough that we engage money saving measures now, in order to meet our revised FY09 budget. To the extent we can achieve these cost savings now we will be able to delay using other citywide contingency accounts until the FY10 budget.

Our position is, has been, and will continue to be that our people are our most important resource. Equipment, and car purchases can be eliminated in tight times; people cannot. Department leaders have identified strategies for the remainder of the budget year that are not intended to impact personnel. Take a look at the list and feel free to email us your thoughts on these ideas. We also welcome your ideas for additional cost containment strategies in achieving a balanced budget for FY09.

Many of these ideas have been “whispered” for years. There is nothing to be gained by attributing a name to their authors or attempting to identify motives. The “idea” appears on this list because we approved it to be there. Because an “idea” appears on the list, doesn’t mean anything more than it is on the list and being carefully considered. Command staff spent the majority of its weekly meeting on January 27, 2009, thoroughly exploring many of these ideas and examining the cost/benefit.

The Police Department has identified the following cost containment strategies for FY09 to meet our savings target. Some of the strategies have been assigned an actual cost reduction or revenue enhancement amount, while some of the strategies are still in the evaluation phase. We believe these strategies will allow us to continue our current level of service and the strategies have minimal impact on employees and the delivery of police services. The strategies are not listed in priority order.

– no discretionary overtime, captains will provide clear guidance to their staff on overtime usage

Line Item:
– any expenditure over $100 must be approved by division captain, captains will provide guidance to their staff
– divisional line item proposed savings (reduction in expenditures in areas such as training, cell phone, postage, printing, advertising, minor equipment, R&M auto, special department supplies)
– approximately $305,000 identified by Division Commanders

Major Equipment:
– some purchases can be deferred until next year, but items must be budgeted for in 2010/2011

Captains will continue to identify M&O reductions and submit list to analyze department wide impact.

Greater Traffic Enforcement Activity:
– increase number of citations (citation activity (infraction) increased in 2008 but is still below the annual figures for 2004 (almost 5,000 tickets) when we had less people)
– 5% increase of average number of citations issued over last five years or 196 more tickets monthly results in revenue increase for Mar – Sep $89,100
– traffic enforcement remains are biggest citizen identified issue so is not simply revenue generating

Eliminate Free Response to First False Alarm:
– charge $100 for first false alarm response where crime has not been committed or emergency did not exist. This is not a basic service available to the community. Those using it should pay for the response.
– number of 2008 first false alarms = 1,229
– current fee structure 1st $0, 2nd $50, 3rd $75, 4th $100, 5th $200
– proposed fee structure 1st $100, 2nd $150, 3rd $200
– police elsewhere have eliminated responding to alarms all together and have instituted “call verification” before responding
– resulting revenue from increased fee structure for Jun – Sep $50,000
– will require Mayor/Council support for ordinance change

Monitor Jail Incarcerations for City Code Versus State Code Arrests:
– daily inmate rate = $59
– inmate cost savings of 10% for arrests under City vs. State codes
– resulting cost reduction for inmate housing for Mar – Sep $5,300
(Decision – more training and awareness for officers giving guidance on criteria to incarcerate vs. release. Consultation with City Attorney and Homeless Court Judge on alternatives to incarceration of “homeless” on warrants, etc.)

Holiday Staffing:
– reduce specialty assignment staffing to minimum with consideration for officer safety and meeting service demands
– resulting cost reduction for Feb – Sep $16,000

Map and Code Books:
– eliminate annual purchase of code and map books
– make biennial purchases
– resulting cost reduction for FY09 $4,000

Right Sizing Fleet:
– evaluate unmarked vehicle purchases
– purchase smaller unmarked vehicles
– resulting cost reduction of vehicle purchase for FY09 $113,400
– resulting fuel savings for FY09 $3,240

Billing for Special Events:
– provide officer presence at special events
– officer labor costs billed to event sponsors
– resulting revenue for billing $37,000
(Decision – near/full cost recovery for policing most special events. Any requests for expanded officer services billed back to event as condition of permit. Determine what overtime the City will provide for city sponsored events i.e.: Veteran’s Day parade, 4th July Parade, etc)

– Abandoned Vehicle Unit reorganization
– sustain 1 FTE vacancy
– resulting cost reduction $40,000
– CHW counter position
– consolidate staff responsibilities to allow existing FTE to assume CHW counter responsibilities
– resulting cost reduction $32,000
– explore possibility of having NCO’s work one day per week in patrol day shift (Monday thru Thursday May-Sep)
(Decision- two civilian positions “swept” now-future, salary and benefit savings applied to FY09 – beyond department budget. If we institute the practice of having NCO’s work one day a week in day patrol starting with this summer, ensure we are consistent with CLA notification provisions.)

New Cell Phone Carrier:
– new carrier and reduced price plans
– resulting cost reduction $3,000

Take Home Car Policy:
– implement policy for cost share of take home vehicles
– resulting revenue for Apr – Sep $21,000
(Decision – pursue flat monthly rate of $20 in city; $30 outside for all approved take home cars from Chief -down. This provision is strictly optional and employees not wishing to participate will continue to be provided an assigned vehicle when on call and when not in use park it at Barrister. D/C Kerns will work with operations team to define expectations of use when commuting and provide info to DC Braddock for coordination.)

Police Hiring:
– maintain present vacancy (12)
– provide only 1 Advanced Academy, consistent with abeyance in hiring
– cost reductions for vacancies and instructor costs Mar – Sep $410,000
– Have Personnel perform analysis of anticipated retirements for FY09, FY10, FY11
– Have Personnel consult with Capt Smith to finalize number of authorized strength for Airport for FY10/11 budget cycle.
(Decision – We cannot simply let vacant positions accumulate without giving consideration to weighing the cost of the vacant position vs. what we have to spend in overtime to backfill. We will reevaluate in May 09, July 09 and Oct 09 existing vacancies and impact on our service.)

– seek alternative locations for vehicle storage
– relocate equipment storage to CHW
– long term solutions, not in FY09
– cost reductions would be in the area of $80,000, less one time costs to replace secure vehicle storage
(Once Enterprise is no longer available all training will be done at the Range or Sailfish. DC Braddock is working with Public Works on secured storage for abandoned vehicles. Staff is working on a possibility of constructing a new secured storage garage for our specialized vehicles in partnership with Fire. One time construction costs may have 1-1.5 year payback at current lease rates.

Blood Draws:
– DUI blood draws, service provided by Ada County EMS @ $215 per draw
– evaluate service agreement and obtain a legal opinion regarding the legality of contracting with Boise Fire Department to draw blood
– reduce number of blood draws requested
– support legislation for restitution of blood draws
– cost reductions unknown at this time
(Decision – City will again support request for legislation to provide for DUI arrested persons to reimburse agency for cost of testing) BPD currently tests 200 persons annually. Current expense borne by taxpayer and comes from our budget. Ultimately even if we are successful in recovering expense, the revenue can go to the Fire Department to offset the use of their personnel.)

SOU Training Hours:
– examine monthly training hours and benchmark other agencies best practices
– evaluate impact on SOU operations and flex day off in patrol
– Determine how many hours officers can carry and for how long?
– cost reductions unknown at this time, but will evaluate this cost containment strategy in FY09

Penalty and Regular Court Overtime:
– perform analysis on court costs
– determine if costs are impacted by ISTARS or prosecutor subpoena process
– seek process improvements as indicated by analysis
– cost reduction unknown at this time

Narcotic Vehicles:
As this is a public document, we have not outlined our cost containments for security reasons. Cost containment measures have been applied to this section as well and savings stated as part of our overall cost containment initiatives.

Citizen Police Academy:
– recognizing the goodwill created by the CPA, department is evaluating if we can afford 2 CPA classes per year
– the cost containment strategy will continue to be evaluated (estimated 12k to 15k in overtime for instructors for each class)
(Decision – suspend Spring 09 class, conduct a thorough review of costs associated with running each class.)

We should evaluate the Training budget for divisions. It may be necessary to only have the quarterly training for all officers and suspend other training for the remainder of this year.

(Decision – No attendance at North Western SPSC – deferred for one year, in addition to tuition saved, also saves money to backfill absences.)

Patrol Staffing Model:
Move quickly on the new patrol staffing model implementation. This will place the officers where they need to be when they need to be there. It would also set minimum staffing levels at citywide levels, not team levels.

Traffic Enforcement $ 89,100
False Alarm Response $ 50,000
Jail Billing $ 5,300
Holiday Staffing $ 16,000
Map & Code Books $ 4,000
Fleet $ 113,400
Special Events $ 37,000
Staffing $ 72,000
Cell Phone $ 3,000
Take Home Car $ 21,000
Police Hiring $ 410,000
Fuel Savings $ 105,000
Command Training $ 15,000
Blood Draws $ 10,000
CPA Class $ 12,000
Major Equipment $ 30,000
M&O Line Items $ 305,000

Total: $ 1,297,800

ON-GOING ANALYSIS: $ cost/revenue impact unknown at this time
Penalty and Regular Court OT


We believe the application of these cost containment measures can help us produce a balanced budget for the remainder of this fiscal year. It’s been a hard task to complete. A recent citywide survey continues to show a significant increase in the public’s satisfaction with police services. We’ve built those success over the last four years so it makes budget cuts all that more difficult to swallow. Year after year we continue to provide high quality services to our community and we now have data to show it. Regrettably at this time, we must live within our budget; consequently the “pain” is distributed across the board both inside and outside the organization.

We will know more on the future economic climate this spring, which will allow us to prepare for the next two year budget.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. I’d be interested to know how much money, equipment and manpower is wasted on marijuana “crime”.

    Based on the number of arrests witnessed on the Ada County Sheriff’s Arrests Page [ ] on any given weekend, I suspect it’s substantial.

    Hailey, Idaho recently joined the growing number of communities that have voted to deprioritize / decriminalize – vis-à-vis legalize – marijuana.

    In 2006, 89% of the nearly 830,000 Americans arrested for marijuana offenses were arrested for mere possession.

    That’s over 3/4 of a Million Arrests that consume Billions of Dollars and diverts the equivalent of 113,000 Law Enforcement Officers away from serious crime.

  2. Marijuana should have been legalized 40 years ago. I have never heard any explanation for why it is illegal. Unless it is for the purpose of filling up a “for profit” prison.

  3. Rod in SE Boise
    Feb 10, 2009, 2:18 pm


    May I suggest: “it reeks of quota” rather than “wreaks”

    I agree with the first two commenters. MJ should be de-criminalized. And alcoholic beverages should be de-regulated.

  4. Alcoholic beverages should be criminalized. There are so many more drinkers than smokers. Much more income in fines are possible, and indeed, some people would actually alter their habits, leading to greater public safety. Then the drug cartels would stop dealing in pot, and switch to booze, which is so much harder to transport, and therefore easier to intercept.

  5. “income from fines is possible”

    That was stupid.

  6. razzbar has the answer to the question about legalization of pot. As long as there are congress members that have booze makers in their districts, there ain’t a prayer in hell that pot will be legalized! Not to mention that congress consumes enough booze to float a battleship!

  7. Police departments are statistic driven operations. Arrests, citations and clearance rates drive what departments strive to accomplish. How good are these statistics…nobody knows for sure.

    (It would be intersting to know if the numbers are subject to an outside audit.)

    The MJ deal is more than likely to die of its own weight eventually. But for now it ought to be a simple citation and no more than a low level misdemeanor or even and infraction. Our current President has admitted to the use of MJ. Nobody cares about it but the cops, and if put to the question they would say legalize it and collect taxes just like tobacco.

  8. What is going on in the Boise Police Department?

    I like all of the cost cutting measures except demanding more ticket writing. But shouldn’t most of these been put in to place from the get go? God I’m so tired of Boise politics and bureaucrats.

    Were they not doing their job properly before? This just pushes officers to feel obligated to write more tickets even if they are not totally necessary.

    I’m sorry, but Masterson needs a new job.

  9. If the coppers need more money, maybe we just oughta cut out the middleman and go back to the old method (still practiced in some places): Just slip the cop a $20 bill when he (or she) stops you. It saves him (or her) the trouble of writing you a citation, saves paper by printing fewer citations, eliminates court costs, paperwork, filing and all that stuff.

    And the result is the same: Coppers stop more motorists, coppers get more money.

  10. We have yelled for years now that we need more traffic control. People running red lights, weaving in and out of traffic, speeding, tail gating.
    Now they need money they pay attention?
    Anyone ever think Mike Masterson might not be the man for the job?

  11. […] out lead foots, the Boise Police are going to be targeting speeders,  Sen. John Goedde (lol, sweet […]

  12. I see the State of Washington is consitering less penalties for marijuana use.

  13. Guy Bourgeau
    Feb 11, 2009, 8:54 am

    It is the express wish of the members of the Boise Police Union to clarify our position on a “cost containment strategy” that was recently proposed by Boise Police Chief, Michael Masterson. The Boise Police Union adamantly opposes the use of traffic enforcement as a strategy for creating revenue.

    The Union understands that the police are part of the public and not separate from those that we serve. We also understand that many, if not all, of the citizens that we serve are undergoing some form of economic hardship or stress at this time. We absolutely will not agree to a strategy of “cost containment” that passes along more of an economic burden to our citizens, especially at a time of economic distress.

    The Union fundamentally believes that even in good economic times that traffic enforcement should never be used for the purpose of revenue generation. Policing is not about, and should never be used for revenue generation, as we are charged with serving the public, not taxing them.

    While receiving a traffic citation is unpopular with everyone, it is a form of service that can reduce traffic fatalities and improve driving behavior. The use of traffic enforcement for these reasons is appropriate and makes the streets safer for all of us. Fines and penalties are meant to be the deterrent to stop driving behavior, and not a reward for the entity issuing the citations. It is obvious how the latter could contribute to the perception of corruption, and it should be our mission to fight that perception at all times.

    The Union also recognizes that while the police are part of the community that they serve, the relationship between the public and the police is one that needs constant attention to be maintained. The Union believes that the proposed “cost containment strategy” will only serve to deteriorate that relationship, which would ultimately serve to erode the quality of life in our wonderful community.

    The mission statement of the Boise Police Department is to “enhance public safety through proactive problem solving and increased community partnerships.” We believe that this “cost containment strategy” flies in the face of our fundamental mission and places the burden of our budget shortfalls on the taxpayer’s shoulders. The Union believes that we should enhance our “partnerships” with the community by bearing the brunt of this economic cycle appropriately, just as we expect our citizens to do. Therefore, we adamantly oppose the “cost containment strategy” proposed by Chief Masterson.

  14. Can someone tell me why a plant God invented, Marijuana, is illegal? Did God screw up with that plant or did he make it so cops can bust people who grow it and smoke it and throw them in jail? What was God thinking when he invented pot 6000 +/- years ago when everything else was invented? Or are we just smarter than God?

    Anyone know of other God invented things that grow or occur in Nature that America decided is illegal?

  15. My dad, who died more than 20 years ago, used to grow pot in his yard back in the 70’s for personal use. Don’t recall it affecting him in any negative way. Don’t think the cops in Boise at that time would even recognize the plant.

    I agree with dog about it being a naturally occuring plant. I’m not a believer in the 6000 year theory but the rest of his idea makes sense. We have way too many puritans in this country.

  16. Mr Guy Bourgeau,

    I agree with you. Even though the POST cadet motto last year was “Don’t get PTSD, go out and spread it”, they probably didn’t mean “write more tickets”. Or did they? Did the union have any stand on that motto? Just curious.

  17. Yo Chief, Where's the Cost
    Feb 11, 2009, 7:49 pm

    Chief says he wants to start charging for false alarms. First, unless there is gunfire in the background when the call gets made, BPD is pretty leisurely in responding to begin with.

    Second, where is the additional cost? It is not like the responders are not already on duty. It is not like the car is not already running.

    Third, the security firms are not charging for a police service. Individuals and security firms place calls. The police respond to calls. This is another case where the chief is trying to make some money off of the citizenry the same way the mafia does: Because he can.

    EDITOR NOTE– Gotta side w/ Chief on this one. Just because you buy an alarm doesn’t entitle you to special police responses. To put it in perspective, how many time have YOU called the police when you heard a car alarm honking a horn? It is a waste of time to respond and in most cases the cops are answering a call for service from an alarm company in a remote city from a “command post” saying they have a signal of an intrusion—no different than calling in a car alarm.

  18. Guy Bourgeau
    Feb 12, 2009, 2:25 pm

    At that time BPD was running our own POST Academy in house and did not have any of our officers in that group. As far as the Union is concerned, We would not support a motto like that. I’m sure there was a better choice to be made and I’m sure that POST will not allow something like that to happen again. POST does an excellent job and will continue to do so in training officers throughout the whole state. Hope that answers the question.

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