Best Overdue Oversight

Boise's long journey to hiring a new ombudsman

Staff Pick

When Boise's new "police overseer," Natalie Camacho Mendoza, took the podium after an introduction from Boise Mayor Dave Bieter July 24, she ended a two-year vacancy in the office tasked with independent, civilian scrutiny of the Boise Police Department. The city established the office, formerly called the Office of the Community Ombudsman, in 1999 during a wave of officer-related incidents that left relations between the BPD and the public strained. As the number of critical incidents and complaints against police tapered off, the Boise City Council voted to change the office name to "Office of Police Oversight" and reduce it to part-time, leaving some—including former Ombudsman Pierce Murphy—to wonder if the city takes scrutiny of the police as seriously as it once did. What's the saying about watching the watchmen?
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