Boise Police Department
News Release

Michael F. Masterson
Chief of Police


Contact: Lynn Hightower
Communications Director
570-6180

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, May 04, 2009

05-04-09 Boise Officers named national TOP COPS!

05-04-09 Boise Officers named national TOP COPS!

    Boise, May 4, 2009 - Two Boise Police Officers are headed to Washington, D.C. this month to be honored as TOP COPS, one of the most prestigious national honors a police officer can receive. The honor recognizes outstanding acts of service and heroism, and is given each year to just ten officers from around the country by the National Association for Police Organizations (NAPO).

    Officer Chris Davis and Officer Jason Rose were selected for the honor after being nominated by Boise Chief of Police Michael Masterson. Chief Masterson recognized the officers for risking their lives trying to evacuate residents during last summers devastating Oregon Trail Fire. 

    "Officer Rose and Officer Davis are heroes," said Chief Masterson. "Each has a harrowing tale of running through smoke and flames trying to save lives while their uniforms caught fire, explosions knocked them down, and running blind through heavy smoke. The TOP COP honor is very much deserved. Yet these officers humbly say they did what any officer would do." 

    "I'm very proud of these two officers, and I'm proud to say they represent the commitment and service provided to this community from the Boise Police Department. Honors like this are something no officer asks for, but so many deserve." said Chief Masterson.

      Officers Davis and Rose will travel to the Nation's Capital during National Police Week, (http://nleomf.com/NPW2009) courtesy of NAPO (http://www.napo.org). The awards will be presented Tuesday, May 12th, at the Warner Theatre by John Walsh, host of the popular "America's Most Wanted" Fox TV show. Also, often in the audience for TOP COPS, are actors and producers from popular TV cop dramas like NBC's "Law and Order" and "Third Watch", ABC classics "NYPD Blue" and "Hill Street Blues", and A & E's "American Justice" and "Cold Case Files".

    "This is an honor I'm very proud to share with my two young sons," said Officer Chris Davis. "Someday soon they'll have more questions about the kind of work their dad does. The TOP COP award is an example to them that the community does value the service police officers provide every day. Not all that service gets recognized, but this honor is one way I can show my sons that doing the right thing, helping your neighbors and community, can leave a lasting impact and make a positive difference in people's lives."

    "When I heard my friend and fellow officer, Chris Davis and I had been chosen for TOP COPS, I looked up some of the other officers who've been honored in the past." said Officer Jason Rose. "After reading their stories, I was awed and amazed at the incredible bravery of these officers. That selfless sense of service from officers like these is what inspired me to get into law enforcement. I am absolutely humbled to be among this very worthy group of police officers named as TOP COPS." 

    Award is Second TOP COP for Boise PD: This is the second year in a row the Boise Police Department has been honored with a TOP COP award winner. Last year, Boise Officer Brek Orton was named a 2008 TOP COP after he risked his own safety to rescue a woman trapped underwater in the Boise River. 

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September 04, 2008

Two Boise officers cheated death in Oregon Trail Fire

Chris Davis and Jason Rose, the first police on the scene, helped evacuate people from the inferno.

by Katy Moeller, Idaho Statesman

Boise police Officer Chris Davis was running as fast as he could Aug. 25, pounding on doors and urging Oregon Trail Heights residents to get out of their homes, when he realized the fire ripping through the subdivision had caught him.

He was on fire.

"I could smell it. I could feel the heat from my uniform," said Davis, a 33-year-old father of two young children, who flung himself against a house and ran through a sprinkler to extinguish the flames on his back.

The scene was chaotic, as propane tanks exploded on home decks, vehicle tires melted in the heat, and residents rushed about to gather up family members, pets and other valuables.

The flames, smoke and embers were overwhelming.

"It literally looked like a blow torch blowing across the road," Davis said of the flames fanned by 50 mph wind gusts. "The fire was so loud - it sounded like a freight train."

Davis and fellow Officer Jason Rose, the first two emergency workers at the scene, spoke publicly for the first time Wednesday about their experiences.

Rose was exiting a house when it literally exploded into flames, knocking him to the ground. The fire melted his uniform and singed his hair, said the 36-year-old father of four.

"It was as if a mule kicked me in the back. ... That's how close I got to getting fried," he said.

Rose and Davis began evacuating residents a couple of minutes before the first fire trucks arrived. They were among 13 Boise police officers treated for smoke inhalation.

"I think the worst thing for me were my eyes. They were blood red with a brown center," said Davis, who was grateful to a Sweetwater Drive resident who handed him a respirator amid the mayhem. "My vision was blurry for a couple days."

The fire began shortly before 7 p.m. Aug. 25 on Idaho Power Co. property near Amity Road and Holcomb Drive. It killed a woman, destroyed 10 homes and caused major damage to nine homes.

Rose, who lives on the east side of Columbia Village, was in the area to help his wife secure his family's trampoline, which he feared might blow about in the windstorm that had kicked up that night.

In eight years with the Boise police, Davis, a member of the department's Special Operations Unit, had never seen anything like the "tunnel of fire" on Sweetwater or the "tidal wave of flames" coming over two houses on Immigrant Pass Court.

Rose and Davis knocked on doors along Sweetwater Drive, working their way toward Immigrant Pass Court.

Davis said he met Peter Ryder outside Ryder's Immigrant Pass Court home. Ryder told Davis his wife, Mary Ellen, was inside the house. But it was too late.

"The house literally exploded," Davis said.

Mary Ellen Ryder, a Boise State University professor, perished in the fire.

Davis and Rose said fire and smoke blocked their exit from Immigrant Pass Court. They drove through the concrete barrier of a walking path to escape the blaze.

"It was either drive through that or abandon the car," Davis said.

He and Rose took a couple of days off work and were back on the job Monday. On Wednesday, the two officers downplayed their roles.

"There's nobody in our department who wouldn't do the same exact thing," Rose said.

Katy Moeller: 377-6413

 

Officers recall horror of Boise fire
Mike Butts, Idaho Press Tribune
Thursday, September 4th, 2008

Pair who went door-to-door amid growing inferno describe scene: 'It was like being shot at'


BOISE — Two police officers who helped evacuate houses during the deadly Southeast Boise fire last month shared their story with the media Wednesday at the site of the blaze that destroyed 10 homes.

Boise Police Officers Jason Rose and Chris Davis all but had the shirts burned off their backs and ended up in the hospital after going door-to-door to get residents out of their houses. The Aug. 25 wildfire also damaged nine other homes on the rim of a Boise bench.

The officers described a tunnel of fire on the street where the homes burned, backyard propane tanks exploding, tires melting and houses blowing up from the flames.

“It was like being shot at,” Davis said.

“It was absolutely unreal,” Rose added. “It was kind of hypnotic. (The fire) was alive. It was breathing like it kind of had a purpose.”
Rose and Davis tried to get into the home where Boise State University professor Mary Ellen Ryder was killed. They met Ryder's husband, Pete Ryder, as he ran out of the house, they said. But the fire had engulfed the home by the time they tried to get to the only person who died in the blaze.

Rose said he didn't know why Ryder was not able to get out of the home.

“Everything happened so fast, I don't know,” Rose said.

Rose and Davis were inside several homes when they caught fire. At one point a home exploded into flames just as Davis ran out of its front door.
“It was as if a mule kicked me in the back,” Davis said. He said the back of his shirt “melted.”

The smoke was so thick at one point Rose said he could barely see the lights flashing on his squad car in the street as he stood on the sidewalk.
Both officers spent hours at a local hospital getting checked out for smoke inhalation. Davis said that after jogging recently, he still detected a “campfire” taste in his mouth.

“These officers truly risked their lives,” Boise Police Chief Mike Masterson said. More than 50 police officers from all across the valley responded to the disaster.

Asked if they would take the same action again, Davis was quick to answer.

“Oh yeah,” he said. “I mean, it's our job.”