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Note June 27, 2007

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Nobody likes to think of an angry, bitter cop trolling the streets. But that's the specter raised by the the Boise Police Union's leaders as they negotiate in the press for a new contract with the City of Boise.

The union's scorched-earth pursuit of a new salary package began to seem a lot less like a hunt for better pay and more like a vendetta against Mayor Dave Bieter the further they went. By turning the matter into a personal attack on Bieter and his chief of staff, Jade Riley, the union's leaders at least showed us their true colors. Those colors were made clearer when they hired Mike Tracy, the former spokesman for U.S. Sen. Larry Craig, a Republican, to help them get their message out.

Tracy is nothing if not effective. Read Deanna Darr's excellent report on the whole imbroglio in our News section to find out more. We know now that this is less about salary negotiations and more about the upcoming mayoral election, in which Bieter faces former cop Jim Tibbs, now a member of the Boise City Council.

The question I have: Do rank and file officers agree with the union leaders' message? If so, Bieter has problems.

Anyone who goes this long without a contract is entitled to bitterness and frustration. But now we're hearing reports, however mind-boggling, of city hall staff telling each other to be extra careful as they go about town, for fear of getting ticketed by overzealous cops. Ridiculous? We thought so too, but we gave up trying to predict the outcome of this a while ago.

—Shea Andersen

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