City Government

Boise Coppers “Absorb” BSU Costs

Boise coppers will be seeking additional funds from Boise State University as part of a contract renewal to provide police at BSU.
Fire truck in motion at night with lights flashing in Boise, Idaho.
The new deal will see the Boise Police Department continue to provide “customary and usual duties,” including investigation and enforcement, traffic control and accident investigations. But the contract would bump up the hourly rate that the city of Boise charges for events coverage. Under the old contract, the Boise Police Department said it was “subsidizing” Boise State by absorbing more than $300,000 in costs to help police those events.

Contract terms allow Boise Police Department to charge BSU $50 per hour for university events and $60 for non-university events for the current fiscal year, increasing to $55 and $63 for FY 2015 and $60 and $66 for FY 2016. A reasonable question would be: “If the $60 rate covers costs, then why the 20% discount to BSU? Or, if the $50 rate covers, why gouge the non-BSU events at a higher rate to create?”

This entire issue calls into question the apparent fact coppers are worth more than firefighters. Boise Fire Department responds to about 200 medical and fire calls each year, but charges NOTHING to BSU unless it is a repeated false alarm token amount.

With the upcoming bond election, we find it hard to justify offering free fire protection to what amounts to a city of 20,000 population (BSU) at no charge. Boise FD has contracts for rural fire districts outside the city, they respond for free clear out to the Elmore County line east of town, but seek approval for long term debt from those of us who live in the city.

The GUARDIAN thinks its time for State, City, and County administrators to closely examine the policies of providing services outside the taxing unit’s boundaries. Taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to foot the bill for routine coverage outside their district.

It is an unfair burden for Boise taxpayers to protect massive offices and dormitories. If everyone from Sandpoint to Franklin paid just a few cents extra, it would cover the cost of responses to THEIR buildings.

We detailed THE ISSUE a year ago, but got no response from City Council.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. This brings up a lot of questions. Why is BPD charging anything? If BFD… pardon the pun… doesn’t charge BSU then why does BPD? I realize there is a lot of animosity between the “bullet catchers” and the “mattress backs” but come on guys. If one can do it for free… so can the other. Lets face it how many calls does BPD respond to on campus? As far as events go… BFD it seems works those for free also.

    EDITOR NOTE–Rick, you got it backwards. Boise PD responds to hundreds, if not thousands of calls. Everything from sexual assaults to stolen bikes, traffic accidents, drunks, fights–all the usual stuff in a community of 20,000. Same is true for Fire. They should pay their fair share for both municipal services and not be a financial burden in city taxpayers. If PD charges, FD should too.

  2. “This entire issue calls into question the apparent fact coppers are worth more than firefighters.”

    It’s because coppers are worth more than firefighters. Cops spend their entire shift working in car, responding to mutiple calls that require a lot of finese and added public scrutiny. Firefighters spend the majority of their shift hanging around a comfortable fire station napping, watching tv, etc, responding to a few calls where they are hailed as heroes.

  3. I am not disagreeing Dave… I just take the opposite side… if BFD doesn’t charge then BPD has no right to. According to BPD’s own site BPD handled 148,173 calls of which 74,771 were made by cops themselves. Even using the 148k number with 312 sworn cops that is an average of a whopping 1.301 calls per cop per day.Starting salary 40,851- 45,074 per year an avg. of 42,962.50 that’s a lot of money to handle 1.301 calls per cop per day (on average)

    And Biker… NO cops are not worth more than mattress backs.

  4. You’ve all got it wrong. BSU’s sole purpose in this city is to provide OVERTIME to those civil servants deemed worthy enough. Period. ( And you thought it was for educational or even athletic purposes).

  5. All I know is that BFD has a Taj Mahal station at Harris Ranch. And every time there’s a practice burn of a non-preservation worthy old house, BFD shows up with tents and coolers and food. Who pays for that?

    Yet the one downtown, where firefighters presumably have a lot of lounging around time, has a lot of weeds surrounding the property. Hey BFD, I know it’s not your job, but it only takes about 20 minutes to mix a batch of roundup and spray a half block sized property. One or 2 jugs of concentrate will last an entire season.

  6. Part of the problem is that taxing unit boundaries were mostly established so long ago that they no longer make sense.

  7. Cynic.. if you are talking the station near the connector that is THE busiest station in town….bar none..according to a buddy of mine… who used to work there.. maybe the cops could spray the weeds between there 1.3 calls per day… at least then they world be doing something besides driving around playing on their in car computers and texting

  8. BPD does not need to be staffing BSU events as they do.
    That’s where a private security firm comes in handy.

    I as a taxpayer do not want to pay $50/hour to have BPD directing traffic on Broadway after a graduation. WE are all paying that indirectly, one way or another.
    BSU should not be accepting such a ridiculous contract- but what do they care- it’s not their money.

    And much like firefighters working a 2nd job on their days off, we as taxpayers should be expecting those in such jobs to be fresh as possible when working public safety jobs instead of tired from working overtime for BSU events.

    And BPD traveling to away football games to be security for the coach- is the biggest krap waste of money possible.

    Wasting taxpayer money.

  9. The upcoming bond election message is, “it won’t raise your taxes, because it’s coming out of the general fund”.

    What a bunch of b.s.

    If there is an extra $1.5 million in the regular budget to pay for the bond, then there is too much being collected.

  10. Easterner….you nailed it. With the money wasted on paying the elite overtime rates for the chosen few, the college could hire it’s own police department. Of course the question needs to be asked: how is the coaches personal body guard chosen in the first place. i am afraid of the answer.

  11. Rod in SE Boise
    Jun 24, 2014, 3:34 pm

    There seems to be two separate issues here:

    1. BPD coverage at BSU as part of their normal work. BSU should not have to pay (or pay “extra”) for this.

    2. BPD coverage of “events” at BSU. If BSU (at their sole discretion) decides they want BPD coverage at “event”, they should invite BPD and it would seem logical that they should pay for that. I don’t think it is necessary, but that’s just me.

    EDITOR NOTE–Rod, Boise SHOULD have to pay extra. The city police department has no responsibility to respond to BSU other than through the contract. BSU is state-owned and they don’t conform to city traffic laws, building codes, or other city ordinances. Hence, unlicensed liquor consumption with permission from Board of Education, etc. Just like the “occupy campers” at the Statehouse, Boise PD can certainly assist, but the jurisdiction (absent an agreement) is with the legislature and State Police. BSU is the size of a city of 20,000 and there are daily requests for police service. We citizens of Boise should not have to bear that financial burden.

  12. Sometimes I think this is the official BPD rah rah rah page

  13. Dave;
    Maybe the upcoming bond election should have its own thread. Let’s get some real details and air it out.

  14. Rick i disagree…but there are definitely times when common sense seems to be thrown to the wind for reasons that appear unclear. I think it has to do with the fact that this town is too small and someone knows someone’s sister/brother or mother.

  15. Rick, RAH RAH RAH!!!

  16. Rick of those 312 coppers, only about 100 are actually out on patrol, and they work 4 days on, not every day, so take that 148,173 divide by 365 days and 100 officers and you get 4.05 calls a day, and since they work 4 days a week, only about 40-50 work a day, so more like 8 or more calls each a day.

  17. Sal if only 100 are on patrol out of 312 what are the other 212 doing? That ALOT of desk sitters. Any place that only has 1/3 of its force actually working is badly miss managed.

    EDITOR NOTE–This post is about police contract and services at BSU. Either stay on topic or it gets closed to comments.

  18. Staying on the BPD serving BSU…

    “city has no responsibility to respond other than through a contract”
    Guardian, if one takes your argument to full power, then BPD does not have to respond to any other state owned building facility? So if there is chaos at the Department of Ag office by the old penn, – “sorry, no contract for services”? That’s not reasonable.

    Guardian, you are saying, “We citizens of Boise should not have to bear that financial burden”????
    How about WE citizens of Boise ALREADY pay that burden and expect SERVICE when we are BSU, at our home, at the mall, or driving on Main St.
    BSU is a part of Boise- services from city emergency services should not require a contract at all.

    EDITOR NOTE–State of Idaho property is NOT part of Boise. Boise PD will take minor offense calls through “memorandum of understanding” (MOU) contractual agreements. Capitol is covered by state of Idaho capitol police. In your Dept. of AG example, BPD would respond to a stolen purse call and take a report, but they would NOT investigate embezzlement, sexual harassment, or other major crimes.

  19. Umm…..are you sure about the example given? It doesn’t sound right that service is split in to misdemeanor/felony categories. What was the source?

    EDITOR NOTE–The split is defined in the MOU. You can request a copy from the PD. Source is well informed. If you have better info, please share.

  20. Well that’s good to know.
    If I ever want to murder someone, I’ll lure them to some State office. It will take the ISP much longer to respond-I hope. hee hee.
    In the example, they respond to a stolen purse, do they send an invoice to the State? So why should they from BSU? Solely on quantity?

    I would be interested in reading that in statute/rule- by the same token, Idaho would have to have all other facilities paid by state resources as well- mosquito abatement?

    While it may be semantics, an entity within an entity is still part of the greater entity. Unless you want to agree Boise is not part of Idaho.

    How is it done in Moscow and Pocy for the other universities?

    EDITOR NOTE–Easterner. We don’t post things unless we have them nailed down. Click on the link within the story for details on the fire payment, etc. Here is what MOSCOW does with coppers on campus–very nearly identical to Boise.

    There are also a number of “enclaves” of more than 5 acres within the city which are NOT part of the city, but part of the county…Crane Creek Country Club is an example. Boise PD will take calls as a “mutual aid” assist to the Ada sheriff, but BPD has no legal authority. If they find a major event, sheriff takes over.

  21. I concede to the well informed source.

  22. Just for clarity Editor. Besides about 100 on patrol, BPD has property crime detectives, persons crimes detectives, sex crimes detectives, narc detectives, school officers, neighborhood contact officers,night STEP (DUI) officers, day STEP (motorcycle) officers, and a few other areas also. Just to get it out there

  23. I will cut the sarcasm (mostly) and the rhetoric and just get to the bigger point. When you consider the amount of $ BSU brings into this town, I would imagine we’ll over the 300k just in hamburger sales each year plus the football/basketball games ect. I would think a little free policing would be in order. Let’s face it $50 an hour or more to have BPD stand around at the games or direct traffic after is extortion. Hire securitas to stand around at the games.. and traffic flaggers for after and be done with it. Same service..and a lot less money. Before you jump..
    That is not intended to slam BPD just fact.

  24. …in other words why doesn’t the University form and hire it’s own police department. It’s done all over the country and has proven successful.

  25. Blask… That sounds like what is needed… And you are correct it works on a lot of campuses at a rate considerably lower than $50 an hour

  26. chicago sam
    Jun 28, 2014, 1:33 pm

    According to “acountable Idaho” in 2010 the last compilation available the average annual police officer salary in Boise was $67,572. If you add in the traditional 1.5 times for all fringes you come up with average cost to the city of $101,358 annually. I won’t bore you with the rest of the math computation but I think Boise State is getting a very good deal at $50 /hour

  27. Yes Rick, forming yet another agency will somehow save money? Surely you joke? Think big picture.

    I terms of small picture, cops need special training so as not to shoot drunken students for refusing to drop their $400 cellphone or for throwing empty beer cans at them (considered justified shooting in the hood)… so there are benefits of a university only department.

  28. 101K per… way way way too much money. Should be about 25k including the beni’s. Lets face it.. no matter what Sal Nez or any of the other cops who post on here tell you.. cops don’t do a whole lot for the 67k + they make, when they were in cal it might have been a different story but here not so much.

    And no zipp I do not joke. If BSU formed it’s own agency it would save BPD 300K a year… they should be all for it.
    I am glad to see someone else who thinks the hood mentality as you call it is wrong.

  29. Dave has told me that I post too much on his site so I will make this last comment on this subject:

    Sam, using your figure of $67,572w/out the beni’s and comparing it to the Census Bureau’s “per capita money income in the past 12 months (2012 dollars) 2008-2012” was “22,851”. I don’t think there’s a single cop with a conscience who can say that at 338% above the state average they are not over paid. Anyone who does is just proving my point for me.

  30. 25K? Including benis? Joking right?

  31. Median income nationwide is 50k or so. Poverty level income for family of 4 I believe is around 24K. I don’t wish that on any person.

  32. Rick, Rick, Rick, get off the hate wagon!

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