Boise’s new Director of Police Oversight (ombudsman) has gotten off to a rocky start after failing to respond to the scene of a “critical incident” involving a police shooting near the Depot early this week. She told legacy media neither she nor an investigator responded. She said she is kept “apprised” of details. As we see it the only “apprisers” are coppers–no one representing the citizens.
The civilian review position was established after a series of police shootings more than 10 years ago led to a lack of confidence in the department on the part of citizens. Pierce Murphy served as the Community Ombudsman for about 10 years and made no bones about working on behalf of citizens as an independent investigator and judge with regard to police conduct. He left two years ago to accept a similar position in Seattle–a city rocked by police misconduct.
Boise elected officials refused to fill the post for more than two years and only recently hired Natalie Camacho Mendoza, a lawyer, to fill the post which was reduced to a part time position.
Boise City Code 2-22-04
H. Critical Incidents
In the event that an officer or employee of the Boise Police Department is involved in a
critical incident, defined below, as a principal, victim, witness or custodial officer, the
Office of Police Oversight shall be notified immediately and shall act as an observer to any criminal, administrative or civil investigation conducted by or on behalf of such
Departments. Hard to act as “an observer” when you are absent.
Failure to respond or have an investigator on the scene of a critical incident is like calling balls and strikes at a baseball game based on a radio broadcast. Ms Comacho Mendoza needs to be there to represent the citizens if she is to “oversee” police conduct. The days of judging police conduct based on the reports of coppers has long passed.
If she wants her work to be trusted, she needs to change tactics pronto. She let us down on her first critical incident.
To insure more advertising-free Boise Guardian news, please consider financial support.