With tens of thousands of out-of-towners streaming into Boise for the NCAA basketball tournament one week and then thousands more visiting for Treefort Music Fest the next, Boise police say there's little need to worry. They have planning for such major events down to a science.
"We prepare assessments on the size and complexity of venues," said Boise Police Department Captain Paul Burch. "That includes a threat assessment. We're always looking to see if there's anything controversial that might be connected to the event, so we're monitoring social media and in touch with other agencies to see if there's anything to look out for."
In years past, BPD officials said their biggest concern hasn't been disorderly conduct during Treefort, it's been managing the safe flow of pedestrians and vehicles through downtown Boise.
"What we're looking closely at are the locations of those events, what day of the week those events take place on and if there are any needed street closures that impact traffic," said Burch. "Based on all of those factors, we then look at our staffing concerns. Plus, we have to see if there's some other event that may be going on that same day. Then, we factor in all of our normal police calls and services."
And yes, that means overtime for some officers.
"Many times, the sponsors of the event will share the cost of officers' overtime," said Burch. "Yes, we recouped our costs last year for Treefort."
Burch said he doesn't anticipate any dramatic change in staffing or policing during Treefort this year.
"As long as the event doesn't change its footprint or complexity from year to year, we'll stick with our plan. We try to keep it as economical as possible," he said. "Some events require change. For example, this year's X Games qualifier is adding another event and growing the footprint, so we'll grow our plan, but when it comes to Treefort, our plan should be nearly exactly the same as last year."