Boise Police Department
News Release

Michael F. Masterson
Chief of Police


Contact: Lynn Hightower
Communications Director
570-6180

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Chief to Recommend Merger of Boise Police, Airport Police

Chief to Recommend Merger of Boise Police, Airport Police

Boise, March 13, 2007 – Boise Police Chief Michael Masterson is recommending to the Mayor and City Council to merge the Boise Police Department and Boise Airport Police, beginning October, 2007.

            After a four month study by Boise Police, that included input from Boise Airport Police employees, Chief Masterson says integrating Airport Police operations into BPD will accomplish two important missions;

                     Improve public safety services at the airport.

                     Result in efficiencies that save taxpayer dollars.

“The staff managing security at the Boise Airport continue to provide exceptional public safety services with a very well qualified staff. Likewise, Boise Police Officers are recognized as professional, well trained and service-oriented,” said Chief Michael Masterson.

 “The merger will have equal benefits to employees of both agencies, with the citizens of Boise benefiting the most with the prospect of an even higher level of public safety service throughout the city.”

Background: In October of 2006, Chief Masterson was directed by the Mayor & Council to study whether a merger of BPD and Boise Airport Police would enhance safety and services to the citizens of Boise.

            Since that time, BPD leaders have met with the executive staff team at the Airport, the Boise Airport Commission, and Airport Police to evaluate operations, expenses, and to anticipate future public safety needs for citizens at the airport.

            The study also included operations at many other airports around the country where police responsibilities fall to the local police or sheriff’s department.

            What the Chief’s Study Found:

            Public Safety: The Chief’s study found public safety would be improved by merging airport police and BPD, thanks to the following benefits:

                     Include airport operations in a cooperative critical incident command system.

                     Create efficiencies by sharing resources for routine police calls in and around the airport.

                     Dedicating Airport Policing a “specialty” in the Boise Police Department, much like School Resource Officers, Boise State Campus Police, Neighborhood Contact Officers, etc.

                     Providing additional specialized training opportunities for Airport Police using the expertise of the BPD Planning & Training Unit.

            Other Boise area emergency responders are currently training under a system that allows for improved multi-agency cooperation and communication in a major incident. By bringing airport police operations into this cooperative system, public safety and emergency response would be improved should a major incident occur at the Boise Airport.

            Financial Analysis: The Chief’s study found a merger would be an opportunity to reduce duplicating costs over time, realizing cost savings would likely not occur immediately, but  increase as the merger progresses.

I.                    Airport officers are actually quite close to current BPD pay scales.        

II.                 Potential cost savings in administrative, operations and records management. Any openings would be consolidated through attrition.

            What’s Next: Here’s what the Chief recommends to the Mayor and Council do next:

I.                    Continue working with all involved agencies to further police merger issues.

II.                 Create a transitional planning team now through September, to continue to study and plan for the integration of airport police into BPD. A proposed budget must be prepared by May.

III.               Designate a Boise Police Lieutenant, a new lieutenant’s position, physically located at the airport, to assume management of the airport safety team beginning October 1st, 2007, the start of the city’s next fiscal year.

Fact Sheet:

Boise Police:

            Authorized Strength: 289 Sworn Officers

            Civilian Employees: 78

            Annual Budget: $42 Million

Boise Airport Police:

            Authorized Strength: 30.5 Sworn Officers

            Annual Budget: $2 Million