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Mike Masterson: The Exit Interview

Boise's second-longest serving police chief sits down with Boise Weekly


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In 2013, Masterson proposed a specially designated tailgating zone in Julia Davis Park, allowing Boise State University football fans to drink alcohol in the public park from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. The one-year pilot program was considered a success and was made permanent at the beginning of this year's football season.

BW: I'm presuming that you were pleased with the 10-to-10 zone on game days.

Masterson: We were handing out far too many citations for open-container misdemeanors to citizens who didn't deserve them. I asked, "Why not regulate the area instead of regulating the behavior?"

BW: In regards to those hours always being 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., some have asked for flexibility in those hours, especially considering the increased number of night games.

Masterson: We're not going to extend the hours. The neighborhood needs to go to sleep. If you want to tailgate, come before the game. We ended up cutting down arrests by about two-thirds in the first year. And Boise State continues to provide the funding for us to staff security.

BW: And that brings us to guns-on-campus, specifically at Boise State. Now that it's law, how are your department's procedures any different regarding the report of a gun in a classroom?

Masterson: They're not. If we get a call from someone who says he or she can see a gun, we're going to talk to that individual with the gun, and it will not be our presumption that they have a license to carry that gun at Boise State.

BW: But isn't that an extremely uncomfortable conversation to have with that individual?

Masterson: It comes down to isolating that individual, making sure they're not a threat to anyone else; and then making sure they're authorized to carry.

BW: I need to take you back to this past February when you waited to testify before the Idaho Senate State Affairs Committee, but public testimony was cut off. And more than a few of us were stunned to see that you ended up speaking up on the issue, but at St. Michael's Episcopal Cathedral a week later.

Masterson: When you're denied the opportunity to talk in the people's house, you take the conversation elsewhere.

BW: Are you any more nervous because guns-on-campus allows more guns at Boise State?

Masterson: Look, this was never a concealed-carry permit issue. This was always about the National Rifle Association and politicians looking to get the NRA's backing in an election year. Call it what it is. I had some legislators, even Republicans, come up to me and apologize for this. It shouldn't be a partisan issue, but now it's water over the dam.