Weeks before Mike Masterson was to take over the Boise Police Department as its newest chief, the city was rocked after 16-year-old Matthew Jones was shot and killed by a Boise police officer when Jones charged police with a rifle and bayonet. In the investigation that followed, it was quickly recognized that Jones had been struggling with mental health issues.
"That was a pretty emotional time for us. If we had shot and killed a bank robber, it would be entirely different. I don't profess to always make a difference, but I think I can influence people to think twice in handling those situations. I think we learn a lot from all of our critical incidents," Masterson told Boise Weekly in 2011.
Unfortunately, there have been numerous other incidents involving force and mental illness, but the department has dramatically changed its protocols in Masterson's nearly 10 years on the job.
There have also been a lot of other changes to the department in Masterson's tenure: for example, the elimination of horse patrols. Early in 2005, when Masterson had to put his first Boise Police Department budget together, he eliminated horse patrols.
I stiill get letters about that today," he told BW. "I love horses, but the stables were going to cost taxpayers $750,000. Bicycles are much more effective."
In fact, Masterson rides with his bike patrols—usually 40-mile shifts, covering much of the city.
But all of that will be coming to an end later this year when Masterson retires as Boise's second-longest serving chief of police. In a taping of KTVB-TV's Viewpoint program, Masterson announced that he'll be stepping down from his post by the end of 2015. The interview will be broadcast on Sunday, April 6.