City Government

Abuse Of Police Authority Not Tolerated

Boi MC parking signWe gotta hand it to Boise PD chief Mike Masterson for “doing the right thing.” Here is a little true yarn that shows how the public can be served while the coppers are humbled.

When a Boise copper blatantly ignored the law and parked his squad car in a “Motorcycle Only” zone in front of City Hall a couple weeks ago, it rubbed a citizen the wrong way. He went inside and complained to the parking department folks to no avail.

He was told coppers can park “anywhere they please.” The citizen could see there was no emergency–claiming the supervisor eventually walked to a nearby restaurant to eat. Upset, he contacted the GUARDIAN. We called the parking folks and got the same defensive response with the added challenge, “you don’t know if he was on a call or not.”

Chief Masterson was alerted of the “media interest” and launched a small internal investigation. By the time it was over, the errant copper was eventually issued a $40 ticket which he paid out of his own pocket. Case closed.

Sounds like a really small time thing, but Masterson–and many citizens–don’t like to see “abuse of authority” from those “riding the white stallion” (Crown Vics with lightbars.) Masterson understands that “respect demands respect.”

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Casual Observer
    Oct 29, 2009, 5:32 pm

    I would be a lot more impressed if moral probity didn’t require the media spotlight for a catalyst.

  2. Virginia Rose
    Oct 29, 2009, 6:10 pm

    Chief Masterson absolutely did the right thing. I would say “congratulations” but since it obviously was the right thing to do, the Chief probably doesn’t feel he should be congratulated. So, thank you, Chief. Virginia Rose

  3. I’m more concerned about punishing officers who misuse force…not parking. It’s easy to call an officer out for parking illegally, but Masterson needs to man up and punish the officers involved in the infamous taser incident.

    I have called BPD dispatch before for officers driving illegally without emergency lights…and of course greeted with hostility.

  4. Flyonthewall
    Oct 29, 2009, 8:48 pm

    It is a nice little $40 helpful hint to the cop without a blemish on his career and notice to all others to lead by example.

    Good on Chief Masterson. Respect gets respect at all levels in all things. Unless you are a Wall Street Banker or and Enron executive.

    We need to turn Cheif Masterson loose on the Bankers who nearly destroyed the world economy. We might actually see some of these jokers doing the “perp walk” instead of whining about their bonus checks for this year.

  5. Rod in SE Boise
    Oct 29, 2009, 9:51 pm

    That’s the first story about the BPD where behaviours or qualities such as arrogance, hubris, over-reaction, abuse of authority or brutality were corrected and not ignored, rewarded or swept under the rug.

  6. Must be a slow week in news stories. YOU got to be kidding me!!!! Get a grip on reality. Is the energy you spent writing this story even worth the time and effort you put forth? Why not try going after REAL important news stories. PLEASE.

  7. You know what, if the coppers need to park there, so be it, let them do there job and quit worrying about this petty BS. Walk a few feet in there shoes before you judge them.

    EDITOR NOTE–BG didn’t write a word until we learned it WAS those who wear the same shoes that did the judging.

  8. And now if we could only get them and the ADA S folk to slow down unless using their flashers on a call… too many times getting tailgated and speeding (bad mpg by the way) for no apparent reason. Too bad it takes the press to get action

  9. Get a grip on reality? This story worth the time? This is real and absolutely worth the time. It shows that abuse of power or authority will not be tolerated. Good thing somebody took notice and the department acted on it. It’s only $40.00 in cash to the city but BPD re-actions like this are worth more than any amount of money can buy. Kudos to Chief Masterson and the BPD. Maybe the next guy will think twice before abusing his power whether it be for parking or something more!

  10. I agree. Cops should have to park on the other side of the parking lot just like everyone else. Why should they park close to a restaurant? They shouldn’t be allowed to eat. They’re all too fat anyway. I guess if that cop had an emergency to go and help someone, he should have to run far across the parking lot and take extra time to get to his car. More like, “sorry it took me so long to get here, ma’am. Some citizen didn’t want me parking in the wrong spot.”

    Wow. This is awesome! So that’s what makes Chief Masterson a great chief?

    Read the law, you idiots. The cops can park where ever they want. It’s not against the law. Maybe against a policy or rule, but not against the law.

    Huge news!!!!!! (clap, clap, clap)

  11. Flyonthewall
    Oct 30, 2009, 9:18 pm

    As I understand the sequence of events the cop was 10-7 (that means out of service) at the time of the parking deal.

    Out of service means radio off and not reachable. Mr. Cool, the cop took three motorcycle parking spots while he was 10-7.

    I always love the people who take handicaped parking because granny is handicapped and they are not. They will use the handicapped parking tag when granny is not with them and preempt someone with a genuine handicap from using the space. These crudballs really have a lot of nerve. The cop in this instance was no better.

  12. News Worthy? Only to a bunch of folks looking to point out all the flaws of employees of the government. Was he wrong? Yep. Was it dealt with? Yep. Will the rest of us government employees ever hear the end of it. Nope. Defending this idiot who screwed up only reinforces their view we are all bad people. Learn to lay down and take the abuse like you always have. Be a man and proudly proclaim “Thank you sir may I have another!”

    Because he parked where he shouldn’t have, you as a government employee might say hey dummy your making us look bad!

    These guys will say “Don’t you see! More evidence that all police are corrupt!” I’ll make this easy for you and tell you what you should say. “I am terribly sorry for the other officers actions and automatically share his guilt even though I do not know him or work with him and humbly beg your forgiveness.”

    The more you defend yourself the more guilty you will become. Get used to it, comes with the territory.

  13. You hypocrites. Some of us would love to apply the same standards of absolute pettiness to those of you in a work environment that can be scrutnized so closely. So a cop parked in the wrong parking spot. Horrible! I’m sure the irate individual who went so far out of his way to voice his disdain has never sped through a school zone, texted or dialed while driving,taken a pen or office supplies from work, ever lied in any form for any issue, left work early or simply sat at his desk doing nothing…while getting paid for it. I wonder if he was actually supposed to be at work as he spent the morning “hunting” down this vile criminal. I could care less if a cop parked on the sidewalk. Not being a native of this farm town, I am constantly amazed at the things that seem to upset the citizens here. Is this some California hatred for authority or just a bunch of hayseeds with a holier than thou attitude. As for the Chief…get a life! If this is all you have to do? Sounds like a little witch hunt paid off to the tune of 40 bucks. I’d have paid it for the cop just to shut this fool up. And I hope the citizen never gets upset if a cop is late to his robbery because he couldn’t find a parking space. Good job Boise. Grow up.

  14. He was wrong Roland, let it go.
    He paid his fine, it’s over.
    It’s only an issue because you are making it one. The more you protest the more ammunition you give them. Petty vindictive finger pointing? So what. Happens everyday, welcome to the wonderful world of police work.

  15. Thank goodness for this web site. An outstanding service to our community. Thank you, Guardian.

    What the heck is wrong with some of you people? Call a spade, a spade. Cops enforce our laws. They dog-gone better abide by them. No excuses. Chief Masterson understands this implicitly. And rightly so.

  16. Dont you think we should allow cops to “park whereever they want” so when they have an emergency they will have a faster response time??? You idoits need to find something better to do with your time

  17. The point is he wasn’t responding to a call.

    If he was on a call there would be no point to this conversation. When not on a emergency call, you should not be parking like that. Take the time to park legally and set a good example.

    I can’t believe we are having this discussion. Ethics, sense of entitlement, ring any bells? I thought a 5 hour class on this at POST was a bit long. I guess not.

    You have a serious us against them thing going on my friend.
    Step back, re-evaluate and ask yourself why you are condoning this kind of behavior.

    Slippery slope dude.

  18. The Truth is out there. .........
    Nov 1, 2009, 10:51 pm

    Well, stupid bullsh@t stories like this keep us from focusing on important stuff like why Beater is trying impose tens of millions of dollars of our tax money on an expensive but worthless trainset. Gee, Mr Guardian. You put up a good diversion by pretending to be against the mayor and finding important news stories like this.

    Also, no wonder the cops hate us. One of the guys was at our fire house talking about this ticket, and it’s amazing how hard Chief Masterson and the mayor are trying to underhand the police dept. Funny the city starts doing this kind of crap when negotiations are about to start with police and fire. Let’s all donate to the Guardian because he’s sooooooo unbiased.

  19. joe mccarthy
    Nov 3, 2009, 12:02 pm

    Well, the rumor is it was Boise Police sgt. Guess that ends the debate right there.

  20. john lennon
    Nov 3, 2009, 12:28 pm

    Hey “who cares”..He isn’t condoning his behavior. He is questioning the importance of a story in a Boise newspaper, a chief who apparently got involved over a parking issue that should have been handled at a much lower level, and the assumption by individuals like you that this is an ethics issue. Give it a break dude. Your arrogant holier than thou attitude is actually a bigger problem with local cops than parking in the wrong parking spot. Get over yourself for crying out loud and get back to all that violent crime not happening in this thanks to you I’m sure. Your attitude disgusts us more than some sgt who wanted to park close to a restaurant.

  21. ringo startled
    Nov 3, 2009, 12:35 pm

    Whatever happened to “discretion”. I’m sure there HAS to be a local cop here who has given a warning for an infraction involving a traffic complaint or violation. One would have to assume that at the very least this would have been handled in some manner involving personnel discipline or a warning of some sort within the department. So an on duty cop is issued a citation in a marked police car while in uniform. Hey “who cares’…THIS is the slippery slope that needs to be addressed not your attitude of moral superiority suggesting that this guy is an ethics nightmare.

  22. I think it’s GREAT that a copper got a ticket BUUUUTTTTTTT….. I think what’s good for the goose is good for the gander – Might I suggest that the BPD start handing out parking tickets in neighborhoods for every violation found… too close to a hydrant, crosswalk, intersection, parked backwards, tires on the sidewalk, tires >18″ from curb…. etc etc etc – wow this could really add up! They could probably write enough to pay for Dave’s choo-choo-train!

    I hope my sarcasm was picked up on – you don’t give tickets to your police! And if they step out of line, you call their supervisor & it get’s handled – period. You people need to get a life.

  23. I am actually surprised here. All this time I have been telling The Boise Guardian here how he has been overly critical of law enforcement and how we do not think we are above the citizens we serve. Well thanks guys, you just proved me wrong. I stand corrected Dave.

    The Boise Police Department apparently does think the law does not apply to them. It’s that lack of morality and arrogance you are exhibiting and your “I can park wherever I want cuz I’m the Po-Po attitude” which turns the public against us. So no, I won’t apologize for having a more highly evolved sense of ethics than you and maybe you should consider getting into a profession more closely aligned with your belief system, like say Politics.

    My understanding is their sense of entitlement is just like yours. You have that same attitude I have heard before. You call it “Professional courtesy”. I call it corruption. If I stop you for a violation in my county and you badge me, not only will you definitely get a ticket, your chief will get a call as well! You are not above the law. I will answer your question “ringo startled”. Whatever happened to discretion is right. Whatever happened to that officers sense of discretion to take two seconds to think “hey, how will this make me and my agency look if I park here”?

    If you got a beef with your chief and his methods take it up with him. In the meantime, he was wrong, you know he was wrong, all he got was a ticket. Pay it learn from it and move on. Was this newsworthy, hell no. Did they plaster it everywhere to embarrass cops. Hell yes. Are you doing anything to change their attitude about cops. Nope, you keep reinforcing that belief system.

    No wonder every officer that leaves my agency to go to Boise for more pay, always comes back within 6 months. They all say the same thing. You guys are out of control and unethical and they don’t want to be associated with you. You’ve got an image problem. I suggest you work on it.

  24. wow "who cares"
    Nov 5, 2009, 8:27 am

    I think I’ve heard of you. You forgive sins and heal the sick too don’t you. Your arrogance is overwhelming and a good example of the extremes in law enforcement. On one hand you have police who are apparently too dense to realize that what they are doing is watched by the citizens and has an impact, like it or not. On the other hand we have….YOU. You seem to have very intense feelings about Boise cops. But yours is so intense that I wonder if it would tarnish your ability to think straight if you came in contact with one on a traffic stop or whatever. Your comments can be construed in a number of different ways, and they are all bad. Boise cops seem to be a pretty typical example of the community they represent. Yea there seems to be some arrogance with the ones I have been in contact with, but God help us if you are an example of cops in Idaho in general. In all actuality you sound as if you tried to be a cop in this city and probably couldn’t hack it. Whatever your problem is, you need to reevaluate your involvement in your profession. If I were a Boise cop and found out you gave me a ticket only because I was a cop, I WOULD HAVE YOUR JOB!

  25. No I don’t heal the sick or forgive sins but I do wash out your types during their probationary period as often as I can, and I have been known to walk on water once in a while.

    In answer to your question, no I’m not a Boise cop either because I have more pride in myself than that and actually value my integrity. You guys have a LAPD bad image thing going on.

    I actually have friends in Boise PD too that put up with you guys for some dumb reason. It’s a shame really. I have seen many good officers run off to your agency and come back within six months. All of them cite the same reasons for leaving BPD.

    1) Lack of ethical behaviors they didn’t want to get caught up in.
    2) Trainers were arrogant and treated trainees badly.
    3) Many Boise cops have a We vs. They syndrome going on with the public and view their own administration as the enemy.

    I have stopped other cops before. Some got warnings some didn’t. One who didn’t, deliberately tried to influence me by flipping out his badge when I stopped him for doing 85 in a 60. As I approached his vehicle he said ‘Sorry man, we good here? I’m kind of in a hurry.’ I asked him for his D.L. etc. and he flipped me more of that professional courtesy crap.

    25 over is not warning worthy no matter how you slice it. I gave him a break and stroked him for 19 over, and thats as good as it was going to get.

    I got a call one night from another officer who told me he caught my son speeding. He asked me what I wanted him to do about it. I said what would you normally do in a case like this? He said he would normally write a ticket. I told him then he knew what he should do. Write the ticket.

    If you think thats holier than thou then you don’t deserve to wear that badge. So, you want my badge hero? Come get it. Your jurisdiction ends at the Boise City limits. Step into mine and break the law if you want to test my tolerance for that kind of behavior. Whether you are a cop or not will not stop me from tossing your crooked butt in jail and ending your career.

    Facts are this wasn’t even a newsworthy story till a bunch of “Boise” cops started suggesting the law did not apply to them and started complaining about it.

    The sad part of this whole deal is the Sgt. got a ticket. He was publicly humiliated for it. Then a bunch of jackasses banded together and screamed “we are cops and we are above the law! It doesn’t apply to us!” That is what I have an issue with.

    As I stated before, if you have an issue with the way your chief disciplined this guy then maybe you should talk to him about it.

    The public has every right to expect it’s law enforcement officers to not be arrogant, and to obey the law themselves. He wasn’t on a call, he could have parked legally. There was no reason for what he did other than he thought he could get away with it.

    The man paid his fine. Story over. But you want me to feel badly because he made a mistake and was held accountable and the public feels cops should be held accountable? I think not.

    None of the cops I have worked with in over 20 years of law enforcement experience have attitudes like yours. It must be a Boise PD thing.

    I bet you still haven’t figured out why voters don’t like spending money on cops yet have you? Look in the mirror and you will have your answer. Remember that with each word you spout out of your mouths you prove my points to the citizens of Boise and shape and form their image of what Boise cops are. Go on, keep it up.

  26. Hey man, take it easy will you? I am a cop in this town and take a lot of pride in my job. I work hard, do good work and as you know have to deal with enough terrible attitudes on the street. “We eat our own” is so true. If you have some heartache with some of us, join the club. So do I, but it doesnt need to be aired in a forum like this. If what you say is true about your 20 year + career, then you know better. How about confronting those you talk about? If they dont change, its on them. As for the unethical happenings in Boise, Im sure they would love to hear about those specific incidents so they can take care of them personally. I dont tolerate unethical officers any more than you and they should be reported. If all you hear is rantings from washed out trainees, then be careful what rumors you spread. I would enjoy talking to you personally to dispell any misconception you may have, but lets not let others comments get us to turn on ourselves.

  27. Hey “who cares” Why dont you girls take your “my dept is better than your dept” some where else so you dont make cops look any worse.

    EDITOR NOTE– Good idea Rodney. I just closed the debate.

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