City Government

Police Reveal Weapons Inventory Irregularities

Following an inquiry by the GUARDIAN, Boise police have revealed details of what they call “discrepancies in inventory control” for weapons slated for destruction.

Chief Mike Masterson said the investigation is still so fresh the internal affairs part of the inquiry has not been completed, but has been underway since late 2011.

Ada County Sheriff’s deputies conducted a criminal investigation of the circumstances. Sheriff Gary Raney told the GUARDIAN in a carefully worded statement, “There is not enough evidence to file criminal charges at this time,” apparently leaving the door open to further investigation and charges.

Here is the BPD version of events distributed to the legacy media:
In late 2011, a Boise Police employee who supervises the department’s armory discovered discrepancies in inventory control, specifically for weapons slated for destruction. The Boise Police Department immediately began an internal audit which confirmed record keeping procedures related to weapons marked for destruction had not been completed. Specifically, of 156 guns slated to be destroyed, required documentation to confirm destruction was lacking from 18 guns.

A criminal investigation conducted by an outside agency at the request of Boise Police did not result in criminal charges. During the investigation, the employee responsible for armory record keeping resigned. The department is now reviewing several major changes and improvements to the record-keeping process in the armory, with the expectation those changes will be implemented with the hiring of a new armorer later this spring.

“It was a department supervisor who found the problem. He and several others have been part of the process to fix it,” Said Deputy Chief of Operations William Bones.

“Anything that may mean a weapon has not been handled properly we take very seriously. We’ve looked and haven’t found any conclusive evidence these guns were not disposed of as they should have been. But the bottom line is the proper documentation to show they were destroyed isn’t there. I apologize to citizens for our failure to meet the high standards we expect in the Boise Police Department. We’re completing the investigation and taking steps to insure it won’t happen again,” said Deputy Chief Bones.

What are the weapons affected? The weapons involved are firearms that were slated for destruction by prosecutors, no longer needed for evidence and unsafe or otherwise unsuitable to be sold at auction. Weapons seized by police, if safe and legal, are often sold at auction per Idaho Code 55-403

How are these weapons destroyed? Once designated to be destroyed, procedure at the Boise Police department is the armory employee is responsible for the weapons destruction, most often done by cutting thru the metal with a commercial recycling saw.

Who’s responsible for the documentation? Armory employees are responsible for documenting the guns proper disposal, be it auction or destruction, per Idaho Code 55-403. At the Boise Police Department that is a part-time employee.

What happened to that employee? During the internal audit and investigation of armory practices, the employee resigned. The employee was hired for the part-time position in November, 2008, and resigned February 14, 2012.

Where are the guns? The BPD continues to investigate what did or did not happen to the weapons. They may have indeed been destroyed but lack the proper documentation to prove their destruction. Thanks to the internal audit, investigators have the serial numbers of the weapons involved where serial numbers could be retrieved (six of guns did not have serial numbers). So far, the BPD investigation has not found any evidence of the guns or gun parts not having been destroyed.

Investigations: In addition to the internal BPD audit and subsequent investigation, Boise Police requested investigators with the Ada County Sheriff’s Office conduct a criminal investigation. That investigation has been reviewed by Ada County Prosecutors and resulted in no criminal charges. The criminal investigation was recently completed. The internal Boise Police investigation and review are being completed and in the final stages.

Has the department taken steps to insure better record keeping? Yes. In addition to a personnel change, several employees using results from the audit and best practice research are reviewing several new systems for inventory and record-keeping improvement.

All City of Boise departments, including Police, are committed to rigorous performance standards and encourage employees and the public to assist in making our operations more efficient, cost-effective and accountable. The City has established mechanisms, including the Office of Internal Audit and the citizen Ethics Commission, to help ensure that potential problems are discovered and solutions implemented. The discrepancies in the Police Armory, and the steps being taken to correct them, are a further demonstration of that commitment.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. You mean some cop “might” have rummaged through the
    inventory and picked out something to add to their collection. Nah

  2. No might have… did….will anyone ever find out who…. cops don’t really investigate cops…no matter what dept.. it’s that whole big blue brotherhood thing… emphasis on the HOOD part….

  3. Why can’t people with conceal carry permits purchase guns that are declared surplus or obsolete?

    I am pretty sure a public auction allowing folks with permits to bid would bring in more money than the current program.

  4. Paul: Why can’t people with conceal carry permits purchase guns that are declared surplus or obsolete?

    I wondered the same thing. Then I read the article. If they are safe and legal, they ARE sold at auction.

  5. Huh! Wonder if a person could scavenge any useable parts from these. No accusations, just wondering.

  6. Good golly Rick, why u getin down on the cops. I’m sitin here at the library on the cumputr, am homeless, and I get treted ok by boise cops all the time. You all act like they are thugs, try talking to a few, they are nice guys when you are decent with them.
    I have had my share of drunk run ins with them, and deserved jail each time I went.

  7. Nez

    good for you… I think there’s more bad cops than good cops…

  8. Rick I think actually it is referred to as the “Blue wall of silence” and no, they will never “squeal” on each other. The thought is that they have a badge, we don’t, it is an us vs. them sort of mentality. Unfortunately this is not only for the interactions of cop-citizen, but for gear, rights, tools, cars, guns and priority at certain venues which can range from the airport to the coffee shops. First come first serve, and those who serve go first.

  9. Bronco Fan 93
    Mar 17, 2012, 8:21 am

    So just to clarify for the misguided cop-haters that have posted… may want to actually read the story for a few facts before making your assumptions. First, it was a police supervisor who found and reported the problem. Second, the employee who was responsible for the destruction and records-keeping process and who resigned during the investigation was a part-time armorer (a civilian employee, not an officer). Therefore, your “cops don’t investigate cops”, “blue wall of silence”, and “more bad cops than good cops” comments are simply ridiculous. Had any of those things actually been true, do you think BPD would have ever gone public with the story in the first place? When clueless, you are much better off keeping your comments to yourself.

    EDITOR NOTE– Boise PD didn’t go public until the GUARDIAN confronted them with allegations sent to us from a city employee. The armorer was a retired copper hired back as a civilian part timer. As for the blanket comments, we agree they are out of line and certainly not fair to the vast majority of coppers who are honest. We will put Rick in “time out” once again.

  10. Karen Ragland
    Mar 17, 2012, 10:14 am

    Remeber that the sheriff is elected and the chief of police is appointed at the will of the Mayor and City Council. We get a chief of police only as good as the Mayor and City Councel want.

    Sheriff candidates are local while chief of police candidates can come from anywhere and are not known to the community they are to serve.

    EDITOR NOTE–We have both a good chief and a good sheriff. The chief has set up a professional standard of conduct and the incident has been under investigation well over three months. He admittedly didn’t choose to wash the department dirty laundry in public until prompted by the GUARDIAN. We are looking at a couple more incidents where he did the “legal” thing, but the public is not served by the “discreet actions” of the department. When we can legally offer up details, we will share them.

  11. Doesn’t read like BPD came forward to me reads like they kept it mum til someone asked… not much in the way of transparency

  12. Wow, of all the comments, STFU has it correct. Thank you Guardian for keeping an eye out on Local Government!

  13. Wonder if the guy who resigned will be the one hired back…probably since he was a retired cop….

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