03-10-11 House Bill 222; BPD legislative testimony
March 10, 2011 - The Idaho House State
Affairs Committee voted this morning to introduce HB 222, which
would allow people with a concealed weapons permit to carry
firearms on college and university campuses in the state. The bill
would allow public colleges and universities to regulate firearms
only in undergraduate dormitories. The committee voted 11-8 to pass
the bill to the full House.
As the Campus Police for Boise State
University, Chief of Police Michael Masterson and Lt. Tony Plott of
the BPD BSU unit testified against the bill.
Idahoans with opinions on this proposed
legislation are encouraged to contact their state lawmakers. Click
here to learn how to contact your state lawmaker.
Testimony of Lt. Tony Plott, given to
the House State Affairs Committee Wednesday, March 9, 2011:
Good morning, Thank you for the opportunity to provide input
into senate or house bill number 222.
My name is Tony Plott. I am a life long Idahoan and second
generation law enforcement officer having worked for the City of
Boise for nearly 25 years where I hold the rank of Lieutenant.
My father was an ISP trooper and retired as the
director of the Idaho POST academy.
I am an outdoorsman and gun owner and life time member of the
National Rifle Association.
I attended college at Boise State and played football in the
I am the father of three college age daughters.
As you can see, I represent many interests concerning this
issue, but am here today to speak on behalf of the Boise Police
Our mission is to serve, protect and lead this community to a safer
The Boise Police Department - as you may know - serves many
communities, including Boise neighborhoods, the Boise
Airport, and the campus of Boise State University.
I was assigned to Boise State University as the Police program
manager one year ago and work closely with Boise State Security
Director Jon Uda, a retired FBI agent.
The Boise Police Department has a very positive and productive
working relationship with the Boise State campus community. The
campus enjoys an atmosphere that fosters learning, exploration and
the expression of new ideas. The campus also enjoys an extremely
low crime rate, especially in the area of violent crime.
The Boise Police Department does not support the carrying of
concealed firearms on the campus. Our stand on this issue is the
same as the vast majority of other university police departments…
particularly those in the eleven states now considering similar
legislation… that concealed firearms aren't necessary on a college
campus and this legislation is a sweeping reaction to a problem
that fortunately is still extremely rare in our society. The FACTS
continue to show that our college campuses are significantly safer
places than where we work, shop or even live.
Policing a college campus is a specialty assignment. We deal
almost exclusively with young adults… many of whom are living away
from home for the first time.
We know our young people - the age group between 17 and 24 are
just learning the responsibilities of adulthood and of society's
expectations of adult behavior.
This will not be news to the parents in the room but as our
young people learn, conduct that most adults feel is risky, young
adults feel is fun. Our young adults take risks and often learn
hard life lessons in everything from finances to alcohol and
We know we as a society have issues with young people and
alcohol abuse. College age young people are involved in more
alcohol and drug related incidents, including accidents, assaults,
sexual assaults and motor vehicle crashes.
And alcohol is a factor in two of the largest causes of death in
young adults… homicide and suicide.
As a campus police agency, we feel strongly adding weapons to
this mix will mean our college students are LESS safe.
Adding weapons to a college campus have the potential to
increase the consequences of a young person's actions, jeopardizing
their safety and their future.
As a professional police department that polices the campus and the
surrounding community, the Boise Police Department has armed
officers assigned and dedicated to the campus with the tools and
training to intervene in the event of a deadly force assault on or
We know from experience that a citizen with some training and a
firearm may do more harm than good in the event of a true
emergency, by causing confusion and slowing down the police
It takes a lot of diligence for a person carrying a concealed
firearm to avoid accidental or negligent exposure of the weapon… to
avoid negligent handling that might result in theft, an accidental
discharge or discovery of the weapon by an innocent bystander… or
to avoid carrying the weapon into a place where drugs or alcohol
are being used.
THIS IS IMPORTANT……
…Because college campuses deal largely with young people 17 to
25 with varying degrees of life experience and maturity
… because many students live in rental or transitional housing
that lack secure facilities designed to store, handle, or load and
… Because these young people are often under new and unique
stresses including relationships, grades and finances
…because a college campus often encourages dialogue on
controversial issues that are racial, environmental and political
that evoke not only thought but emotion
… and because college campuses are commonly visited by children
and families as part of camps, field trips or community events…
Again, we do not believe a college campus is the appropriate
community for citizens to carry concealed firearms.
We strongly recommend the University be allowed to restrict
weapons on campus in the interest of public safety.
Testimony of Boise Chief of Police
Michael Masterson, presentedto the House State Affairs Committee
Thursday, March 10, 2011:
Mr. Chairman and Committee members,
I don't wish to repeat testimony already provided by Lt. Plott
at yesterday's hearing. You are well aware of the Boise Police
Department's position opposing House Bill 222.
I am here to clarify misrepresentations or perceptions offered
yesterday regarding crime statistics representing the City of Boise
and Boise State University.
A wise sage once said, "Statistics are numbers looking for
an argument." I'd like to put those crime numbers into perspective
The crime mapping feature you saw yesterday is a service all Ada
County law enforcement agencies provide that we believe necessary
to share with the people we serve. It does not mean crime is
rampant in our city. In fact, the city of Boise - including our
University - is consistently ranked as one of the safest cities in
our nation. The symbols you saw posted represented assault
battery/sexual assault and burglary/robbery. Here are a few more
details you should know about those numbers:
Aggravated assault/battery - 90% occurred in a home, business,
bar or restaurant and 97.6% the victim knew the assailant.
Robbery totals - out of 9 this year - 7 the victim knew the
In the area of sex assault, the numbers are comparable. There is
a strong victim/suspect relationship and these cases generally
occurring in a house or apartment.
The Campus safety study and the grading system you heard and saw
is misleading at best. I ask you to compare apples to apples
and consider just campus boundaries. We urge you to look at campus
specific stats alone and not the fifteen block vicinity shown
yesterday to illustrate a campus problem that doesn't exist.
Some colleges and universities are situated in urban areas
and some are in rural areas making the variables considerable
different. Here's the breakdown on five of the major part one
crimes reported to police in the past three years.
2008 2009 2010
Official statistics provided by Mary Anderson, BPD Crime
The other area I'd like to comment on is police response to
active shooters whether they occur at a school, university,
capitol, a bar or whatever. I don't want to disclose specific
police tactics in handling the critical events,
but do want to reassure you and our citizens that it is a standard
practice today in the policing profession around the county
to take immediate decisive action to end the threat of an active
shooter. There are no huddles, no votes, no waiting. (This comment
being made in response to comment the U of I counselor made
yesterday in testimony)
We believe the current law is reasonable and the proposed change
offers a solution to problem that doesn't exist.