City Government

Listening For 10 Years, Chief Leaves Peaceful Legacy

Serving the citizens of Boise and changing the culture of the Boise Police has been a goal of retiring Chief Mike Masterson.
When he took command of the local coppers, shootings by coppers and other critical incidents were out of control. Masterson’s management style has included big doses of LISTENING. He has been a frequent contributor to the GUARDIAN and readers have recently been able to get direct answers to questions.

Perhaps his proudest accomplishment is working with veterans suffering from PTSD. A shootout between officers and an Idaho National Guardsman — in which no rounds hit any humans — prompted creation of a special court and related mental health treatment. Mental health awareness and training have highlighted the last half of Masterson’s tenure.

We have noticed policy changes which include prohibiting coppers from shooting at moving vehicles, elimination of loaning city motorcycles to off duty coppers working out of the county, a series of rules regarding leaving squad cars running unattended, a controversial stand against guns on campus, rules against texting while driving (no exempting for coppers under state law).

The following chart details the number of police union grievances, labor disputes that went to hearing, and ombudsman investigations during the “Masterson Era.”
masterson chart

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. I don’t think the George Nickel incident is a “plus” for the BPD. (As a detail he was Army Reserve on his last tour, rather than Guard- granted he was previously Guard & active.) The end result is favorable that BPD developed a focus for PTSD and mental issues; but that day and Nickel sitting in jail for 8 months is not exactly a shiny example of understanding police work. It was not until the judge viewed him with understanding was anything done differently.
    If police accepted a don’t shoot first policy, 100% Nickel would have still survived. The fact he did survive is just a miracle and due to the fact BPD will fire randomly into a residential building instead of their target.

    and more work needs to done:

    change high speed chase procedures for 1.

    send the MRAP(s) back to the Army.

    demilitarize local police

    modify ROE for firing weapons

    Plan, and train with exercises of a massive police/emergency responses for learning purposes instead of just responding to a toy or “a guy with a knife”. 100 overly armed officers standing around to respond to 1 bad guy does not look good to anyone.

    respect taxpayer dollars

    EDITOR NOTE–Easterner, based on your list it would appear Chief Bones will have some skeletons to address on behalf of BPD!

  2. I’ll second Easterner’s suggestions.

    If trends continue, maybe the new ombudsman should also be trained in landscaping or custodial work or code enforcement, because it’s hard to imagine 3 or 4 investigations per year taking up a full-time position. (Or several full-time positions… since it’s government work, there’s probably a deputy ombudsman, a receptionist, and a PR flack in the office as well.)

  3. I agreee with Easterner and Bikeboy. As a friend of mine observed: “As far as I’m concerned the cops can get all the sensitivity training they want but as long as they look like the work with Darth Vader and act like they’re part of Seal Team 6 I won’t be trusting them.”

  4. While I disagree with much of the police culture, I am impressed with Chief Masterson’s willingness to engage the public on this site and other means. Wish him well and fun in retirement.

  5. So I guess we can add some more for the new Chief, after this latest report about BPD’s BANDIT unit.

    A couple things stick out– the investigation started in 2011.
    Over 3 YEARS?

    When the FBI determines enough cause to investigate, there is more than just, “Review of department processes for purposes of identifying improvement is always ongoing.”

    And to simply say it’s human failure… yeah failure on MANAGEMENT. Management’s purpose is to develop systems, processes and policies to eliminate, circumvent, and mitigate those human failures.

    EDITOR NOTE– check the GUARDIAN archive. We broke this story long ago. Cases compromised, wheels stolen, sex, improper use of cell phones, bad copper fired and banned by decertification.

  6. Broke what story? Nobody was fired, (honesty still counts for something) the “Chief” is officially “retiring” and it’s business as usual. At this point all that is needed to be said is congrats “Chief”…you pulled it off. Our hats are off to you. Next chapter in this little saga please.

  7. FOOTNOTE*: The Ombudsman report released today of all days one day before the “Chief” exits stage right, clears up absolutely EVERYTHING about the
    investigation” in to Narcs. Thanks “Chief”. Four years in the making. Thanks for your transparency and honesty. If ever there is an argument to rid this city of a $100k waste of money, this report is it. But the fact remains “Chief”: you pulled it off. Good luck in your political pursuits now.

  8. …..on a final note on this subject, since it is pointless to continue as the “Chief” is no longer obligated to answer any further questions, it almost appears as if this report were thrown together in the last month based on it’s lack of detail, it’s apologetic nature and it’s brevity. But….who cares at this point as they say.

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