History of the Boise PD

The city of Boise was originally founded during the civil war. On July 4th 1863, while the Battle of Gettysburg raged, the original town was plotted out near the Fort Boise location. In 1864 the discovery of gold and the influx of emigrants along the Oregon Trail made Boise a supply stop central to the region.


The first law enforcement in the city of Boise consisted of Marshals who worked alone in what must be described as a wild frontier western town. The city marshals who worked for 10 dollars a month contended with everything from armed stagecoach robbery to murder and petty crimes.

In 1903 mayor James Hawley decreed that there would be a chief of police, a police sergeant and seven policemen or patrolmen. The chief's job was to see that the laws and ordinances of the city are kept, obeyed, and executed.

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During the frontier years Boise enjoyed a thriving and productive Chinatown located in what is now downtown Boise. Many of the residents of that neighborhood came to Idaho to work in the mines or other support industries.

In 1930, the Boise police had a squad of motorcycle officers who chased down speeders on the streets of Boise and the department had one female officer in its ranks, Policewoman Ethel Alloway.

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In 1933, when a new city hall was completed the Boise police department consisted of 17 officers for a population of 25 thousand people.

In 1936, the Boise police department received a single radio transmitter located in dispatch, with receivers placed in some patrol vehicles. But two way radios would not be available for officers in Boise until 1939.

Today, the Boise police department employs 409 Idahoans; 309 of which are sworn officers, and 100 who are civilian employees. The main department is located at 333 North Mark Stall Place in Boise with 7 substations located around the city. Included in divisions of the department are many specialized units including among others, community outreach, victim witness support, and school resource officers working together to make the neighborhoods of our city safe.

The Chief's

1893 Joseph P. Chinn

1894 Julius F. Shellworth

1895-97 Rube Robbins

1897-98 J.E. McAtee

1898-1903 Ben Francis

1903-05 William B. Horn

1905-07 Edwin O. Phillips

1907-08 Ben Francis

1909-11 Thomas B. Martin

1911-12 Andy Robinson

1912-14 Weber N. Reves

1915 Andy Robinson

1916 M. S. Parker

1917 Henry F. Swanholm (Interim Chief)

1918-19 Julius F. Shellworth

1921 Charles W. Irwin

1923 Henry R. Griffith

1924 Ernest Stoops

 1925 J. W. Briggs

1927-33 Andy Robinson

1934-35 Thomas N. Cribbins

1935-37  Emer J. Harris

1939-40 Austin Utley

1941-51 R. G. Haskin

1951-55 James E. Brandon

1956 Gus J. Urresti (Interim Chief)

1960-68 Jack Barney

1968 Gus Urresti (Interim Chief)

1968-83 John Church

1983-88 James Montgomery

1988-89 Michael H. Prynch (Interim Chief)

1989-93 James J. Carvino

1993-2000 Larry A. Paulson

2000-2004 Donald G. Pierce

2004-2004 James A. Tibbs (Interim Chief)

2005-2015 Michael F. Masterson

2015-  William L. Bones