Unless Boise’s Team Dave has quietly appointed a new person to oversee police “critical incidents,” the current ombudsman will be in a position to both investigate and defend Boise coppers.
Seems that Natalie Camacho Mendoza, the ombudsman, is also the interim Boise City Attorney, according to an e-mail notification sent to Fourth District Court.
Camacho Mendoza was apointed to head the “office of police oversight” in July 2015 and confirmed by the city council. At the time of her appointment, Mayor Dave Bieter said, “This office has played an important role in improving the transparency of our police operations and building strong community trust between the police department and the public,” said Mayor Bieter. “Natalie’s experience and perspective will help us build on that success by deepening accountability and establishing herself as a robust partner in our law enforcement effort.”
While Boise’s police department has undergone fewer questionable police misconduct charges in the recent past, the GUARDIAN still questions the ethics of having the same attorney defending the police (and city) whose duty it is to represent the public and hold the coppers accountable. Sounds like a conflict to us.
We hear there are plans afoot to name one of Camacho Mendoza’s part time assistants to the part time position. Check her LINKEDIN page.
After the GUARDIAN posted this story, the IDAHO PRESS contacted the mayor’s office where it was suddenly revealed the former city attorney, Robert Luce, was no longer at the helm of the legal department, Camacho Mendoza was the acting boss, and investigator Cliff Ohler is now the interim director of the office of police oversight. The moves were termed “administrative action,” which means there was no transparent public city council decision process as there normally is when these jobs are filled.
After the GUARDIAN story posted, another legacy media outlet was told Camacho Mendoza had left the ombudsman post and an interim replacement had been appointed, but the city was not ready to release the name.
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