City Government

Ombudsman Low Priority For Boise Leaders

Despite repeated promises to hire an ombudsman to review “critical incidents” and other complaints within the Boise Police Department, Boise’s mayor and city council has been more concerned with squeezing 10 foot three inch buses into 10 foot traffic lanes.
ombudsmanMore than a year ago Councilor Maryanne Jordan told the GUARDIAN, “The position is important to the community. Next steps should be forthcoming shortly.” Rather than providing an ombudsman, the council has been fighting with ACHD over hockey pucks and parking meters.

We equate the ombudsman–or a police commission–to an insurance policy or fire department. You hope to never need their services, but being “covered” makes good sense.

Coeur d’Alene’s new chief has a great idea: Have citizens serve on a review board. The GUARDIAN has advocated civilian participation with the coppers for more than 25 years. Here is the Coeur d’Alene Facebook post:

Coeur d’Alene Chief of Police Lee White is seeking citizens interested in serving on a Use of Force Review Board. Since his hiring in September of this year Chief White has made it clear the appointment of civilians to this board is a priority. “Citizens serving in this capacity will increase transparency, accountability, and public input into police operations.” said White.

This standing board will meet quarterly with police personnel. The members will rotate in order to have more citizens involved. Interested citizens will receive information on basic law enforcement training as well as case law as it pertains to use of force, what constitutes excessive force, and police policies and procedures.

One of the positive notes former Ombudsman Pierce Murphy left behind was a huge reduction in complaint…and police shootings. Murphy now is working for Seattle attempting to clean up that department which is under U.S. department of justice orders.

All of this has increased urgency with the upcoming retirement of Chief Mike Masterson who will leave as the second longest serving chief in the department’s history. John Church served from 1968 to 1983.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Amusing, cheap shot that misses the mark, Dave. If Boise buses are 10’3″ in width, they’re 20″ over the legal limit for commercial vehicles (102.4″). they’re not; mirrors don’t count. Ten-foot lanes have been shown to be quite adequate for most urban streets. They’re good enough for New York City, ought to work in little ol’ Boise, ID.

    EDITOR NOTE–When a biker gets whacked with a mirror will you tell him, “mirrors don’t count?”
    Cheap shot or not, the fact remains the ombudsman post has remained vacant for more than a year and a half.

  2. Grumpy+ole+Guy
    Nov 15, 2014, 2:05 pm

    As I have stated before I believe that an Ombudsman position is extremely important for the City and I believe that such a position should investigate complaints involving the City’s Police Department; but, I also believe that it should be broader than that, and should include all City departments and agencies.

    I find it insulting that no matter how broad the duties of this position, to leave it unfilled for this length of time, is to show contempt for the public for which this position was established to serve. IF the city fathers and mothers have so little respect for the citizens, the citizens respect for them is lowered commensurately.

  3. Grumpy, I find it insulting that those who have been hire to serve and protect seem to be more concerned with serving and protecting themselves than those who pay their inflated salaries.

    Dave posted this in the story, Interested citizens will receive information on basic law enforcement training as well as case law as it pertains to use of force, what constitutes excessive force, and police policies and procedures. I wonder if someone could answer the question Who decides what constitutes excessive force? I am sure the cops will feel what ever force they used was the minimum, the guy with the tazer in his crotch would probably disagree.

  4. I agree that the ombudsman post should not be neglected, but that has nothing to do with the 10′ lane issue and you know it.
    I also agree that expanding the office’s scope and structure should be considered.
    Have you contacted city hall to find out why the position has remained unfilled for so long? Are they looking at expanding the role, a citizen review board, something else?
    Instead of the cheap shots, put the pistol away and get the whole story.

    EDITOR NOTE–We have done as you suggested. A year ago we got the quote from Ms Jordan, but obviously the council has not not hired anyone. We reported five times on this issue since July 2013, including the proposed expanded role of the office in January 2014. Boise’s office of mayor has refused to respond to a single GUARDIAN request for several years unless it is a formal records request.

  5. Team Dave does not care what you think. They have an Obama-like Socialist/Stalinist plan and you are getting in the way.

  6. It seems to me that law enforcement, including prosecutors and including the judiciary, have been endowed with too much power, authority, and immunities.

    Until the related laws are changed, the criminal justice system and law enforcement will continue to be abusive and lack accountability.

    This circumstance is exacerbated by the craving for fine monies and so forth by municipalities whose budgets are pinched, and mayors intent on building fiefdoms, along with the popos, public unions, and so forth.

  7. The only way that we can hope to improve law enforcement, the criminal justice system locally, and the judiciary, is to shine a harsh light on them, such as is done with disinfecting lamps.

    Our systems in Idaho, especially in some corners such as Nampa and Canyon County, are failures of justice.

    The Sarah Pearce matter, is merely one example of the repulsive, repugnant, and putrid state of affairs there. The wrongful prosecution of this woman, and her wrongful conviction, stands as a particularly stark reminder of the corruption, intellectual bankruptcy, and ignorance, demonstrated by the Canyon County Prosecutors.

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