Friday, February 27, 2015

Advocates from Across Idaho Celebrate 20 Years of Violence Against Women Act at 8th & Main Tower

Posted By on Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 11:28 AM

Bea Hanson, Principal Deputy Director, Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • Bea Hanson, Principal Deputy Director, Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women

From the tall windows on the 17th floor of the Zions Bank Building, you can see practically every grout-stained, whitewashed rooftop in downtown Boise. From that height, even the State Capitol seems diminutive. But Feb. 26, advocates from across the Gem State gathered to discuss a problem that's oversized, even in such a grand setting: the fight against domestic battery and sexual assault.

As part of a national tour in honor of the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act, Bea Hanson, principal deputy director in the Office on Violence Against Women at the Department of Justice, swung by Idaho to talk about what's new with VAWA and the law's expanding horizons.

"Idaho is at the forefront of an emerging multi-disciplinary approach to violence against women," Hanson said. 

The multi-disciplinary approach includes expanding services to at-risk women establishing new statewide legal protections, and attempts currently underway to raise Idaho's minimum wage, which some advocates say will give more women the financial independence to leave abusive relationships.

$71 million in VAWA funds have been received by Idaho nonprofits, governmental agencies and tribes in the fight against domestic abuse and sexual assault. Since 1995, $5.7 billion in funds have been disbursed nationwide, and Hanson told the audience that "finding answers to the problem of domestic violence and assault are a priority" for the Obama administration.

Director of the Coeur d'Alene Tribal STOP Violence Program Bernie LaSarte said that on some reservations, the rate of sexual assault is near 100 percent. In 1995, LaSarte's sister was killed in a domestic violence incident. Today, the fight against these kinds of crimes is personal.

"I cannot say how grateful I am to provide funding," she said. 

When Idaho Supreme Court Justice Daniel Eismann began practicing law, however, domestic violence was a "non-offense." New laws and sophisticated advocacy programs are now changing how such crimes are investigated and prosecuted—and how their victims are cared for after the fact. 

VAWA's 2013 reauthorization helped restore tribal authority to prosecute sexual violence, protect immigrant women and extend its purview over the LGBT community, but according to U.S. Attorney Wendi Olson, "We need to learn to understand the lived experience" of people affected by violence. 

Following a press conference, Hanson talked to Boise Weekly about problems particularly affecting the Boise community, and said that new funds and efforts by advocates can address violence earlier, help people pursue healthy relationships and extend support to marginalized populations. She also discussed the massive underreporting of sexual assaults on college campuses. 

"It's a huge issue and there's a lot of work to be done," she said.

Talk about rape culture and a growing national discussion about sexual assault on college campuses are functions of new and better information coming to light about the extent of the problem. According to Hanson, "We're just counting [sexual assault] better."
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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Tribune: Lewiston Police Wait a Full Year For Ammo From Company on the Other Side of Town

Posted By on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 at 10:01 AM

Lewiston Police say they're facing a critical shortage—not in manpower, but in ammunition. And the irony is that Lewiston is home to ATK, one of the largest ammo manufacturers in the region. 

But this morning's Lewiston Tribune reports that ATK recently changed its name to Vista Outdoors through a series of mergers and acquisitions. And the new company has now decided to use a wholesaler 600 miles away, in Utah, to provide ammo to its "smaller clients."

"They told me we couldn't deal directly with them anymore," Lewiston Police Sergeant Jeff Klone told the Tribune. "Sometimes now, I'm waiting up to a year to get bullets."

Indeed, the Lewiston Police Department has been waiting a full year to get its bullet orders filled. But the problem hasn't caused the Lewiston Police Department to take its business elsewhere.

"They are a business and have to make business decisions," Lewiston Deputy Chief Roger Lanier told the Tribune. "We're small, but we're a business too. We're in the business to make sure our officers have the resources they need to do the job, so we need to make sure they have practice and duty ammo."
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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Chief Bones Details New BPD Mental Health Coordinator Job

Posted By on Thu, Feb 19, 2015 at 4:41 PM

Boise Police Chief Bill Bones
  • Boise Police Chief Bill Bones

Last week at a community conversation about police issues hosted by Boise State Public Radio, new Boise Police Chief Bill Bones leaked details about a new position opening soon at BPD. Today, Bones outlined the job description, employment details and significance of what will be the department's first mental health coordinator. 

"There are so many people in our community that suffer from mental health issues, and police officers are running into those people on a daily basis," Bones said. 

The new Mental Health Coordinator (MHC) will conduct Boise Police officer education on mental health, as well as craft police response to those suffering from chronic and acute mental health crises within the department; but the MHC will have outreach responsibilities, as well, reaching out to service providers and community stakeholders to form a coordinated community response. The coordinated community response, Bones said, will help increase the effectiveness and efficiency of identifying mental health issues in the community and connecting citizens with appropriate services.

Better understanding of these kinds of crises, Bones said, will help BPD respond in a safer, more effective manner in the future. The MHC would be able to provide ongoing education to officers. It's all part of an effort to make BPD more proactive in addressing community concerns.

"We're constantly trying to improve the way that the skills, tools and manner in which we deal with those who have mental illness," Bones said. "We think this needs a bigger focus."

The MHC will not require a law enforcement background, Bones said, but will need to have a background in mental health, a knowledge of mental health services available in Boise and skills related to building community partnerships. 

Bones told Boise Weekly that the list of applicants for the position has been narrowed to three, with the top applicant undergoing a background check now. He said he expects that person to begin undertaking his or her responsibilities in the next 30-45 days. Pay for the position will be between $54,000-$81,000 per year, and will probably begin in the low-$60,000 range.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Boise Police, Boise State Unveil Pilot Diversion Program to Tackle Underage Drinking

Posted By on Wed, Feb 11, 2015 at 10:44 AM

Prior to his retirement, then-Boise Police Chief Mike Masterson told Boise Weekly in 2014 that he was particularly concerned about what he saw as a growing trend of a significant number of young adults being arrested for underage drinking.

"The criminal justice system is antiquated in Idaho when it comes to crime and punishment—especially when we hand out misdemeanors to kids who have been consuming alcohol," Masterson told BW. "Look, we can talk tough. But is that what you really want for your son or daughter? You know, things are a little different in some rural sections of Idaho where the local sheriff just calls the parents if the kids are caught drinking. But when those same kids come down to the Treasure Valley and they're attending Boise State and they're caught with an open container, they could become a criminal. Do you want that? I want to see that fixed."

And this morning, the Boise Police Department, along with Boise State University, announced that it was launching what it called an Alcohol Diversion Program "to give underage students a second chance if they're found with alcohol on campus."

The voluntary program, which would run as a pilot program through May 31, would only include enrolled students who have been charged with a first offense of underage alcohol possession or consumption on campus. If eligible, the student may choose to participate in a program that would include an alcohol education course. But a student may opt out of the program and receive a normal citation to take to court. You can read more about the program here.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Two Oaths Today for New Boise Police Chief, Councilman

Posted By on Tue, Feb 3, 2015 at 9:50 AM

There's plenty of change in leadership for the City of Boise today.

Deputy Chief William "Bill" Bones, a 22-year veteran of the force, will be sworn in this afternoon to become the new Boise Police Chief. Bones emerged from a shortlist of 32 people who were selected from an initial list of 111 applicants for the job.

"For at least the past ten years of his 22 years in the department, Deputy Chief Bones has been grooming himself to be a chief," Boise Mayor Dave Bieter said in late December when he announced his choice of Bones to replace recently retired Chief Mike Masterson. "He could have been a chief somewhere else. But we're very happy that he'll be the new chief here."

Bieter will administer the oath of office to Bones Tuesday afternoon at City Hall West,  aka Boise Police Headquarters. 

A few hours later, Bieter is expected to administer another oath of office, this time to Scot Ludwig, who is expected to get final approval this evening from the Boise City Council to replace recently retired councilman David Eberle. This evening's council meeting with a vote and swearing-in at the top of the agenda, is set for 6 p.m. at Boise City Hall.

Scot Ludwig
  • Scot Ludwig
BPD Deputy Chief Bill Bones (with current Chief Mike Masterson far right): "When we make mistakes, we'll tell you about those too, but we'll work together to fix them." - GEORGE PRENTICE
  • George Prentice
  • BPD Deputy Chief Bill Bones (with current Chief Mike Masterson far right): "When we make mistakes, we'll tell you about those too, but we'll work together to fix them."

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

ISP: Bad Accidents, Multiple Injuries, One Fatality

Posted By on Sun, Jan 11, 2015 at 8:56 AM

Idaho State Police report a string of bad car accidents in the region sent a number of drivers and passengers to local hospitals and claimed the life of a Magic Valley teen.

Filer High School senior Michael Reichlein, 18, was killed late Friday evening when his vehicle was struck by car travelling on U.S. Highway 93 near Twin Falls. The driver of the second vehicle, 45-year-old Richard Nicholson of Henderson, Nev., was taken to St. Luke's Medical Center for treatment of injuries.

State Police are also investigating a crash on Idaho State Highway 52 between Emmett and Black Canyon Dam on Saturday afternoon. A vehicle driven by 19-year-old Jacob Atkinson of Nampa went off the right side of the road, overcorrected, came back onto the highway and crossed the center line, striking a truck head-on. Atkinson and his front-seat passenger were taken to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, while the driver of the truck, 75-year-old Jon Winter of Emmett was taken Walter Knox Memorial Hospital in Emmett.

Yet another bad crash, early this morning, sent another driver to the hospital and blocked two lanes of traffic on the I-184 connector, near the Garden City exit. ISP says 22-year-old Amanda Haven of Boise was travelling away from the Downtown Boise area when her vehicle slid into the median and struck a barrier. She was rushed to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise. Police say Haven was not wearing her seatbelt.

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CDA Press: Idaho Bar Loses Liquor License In Wake of Male Strip Show

Posted By on Sun, Jan 11, 2015 at 8:49 AM

Idaho Code 23-614, which governs the sale of alcohol in the Gem State, bans performers from "simulating sexual intercourse, masturbation, sodomy, bestiality, copulation, flagellation or any sexual acts which are prohibited by law."  Boise Weekly has previously reported on how that same chapter of code restricts NC-17 films from showing at arthouse theaters serving beer and wine. 

Now, Idaho State Police have pulled the liquor license of The Grail Restaurant and Multipurpose Arena in the Kootenai County community of Huetter. The Idaho State Police's Alcohol Beverage Control division says the venue violated code when it played host to "The Ultimate Male Review" in April 2014. The Coeur d'Alene Press reports that ISP says during the course of the evening, "there were numerous violations of Idaho law that prohibits nudity and simulated sex acts in an establishment licensed to sell beer, wine or alcohol."

The Press reports that The Grail owners didn't fight the charges during an ABC hearing in December 2014. The venue's license revocation began Jan. 8.
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Monday, December 29, 2014

More Traffic Accidents, Injuries, on Idaho Roadways

Posted By on Mon, Dec 29, 2014 at 10:19 AM

Treacherous driving conditions defined much of the long holiday weekend for tens of thousands of Idaho motorists, and the latest round of bad accidents resulted in two hospitalizations in the Magic Valley—one of a man who slammed into a snowplow and a Twin Falls County Sheriff's deputies who was struck by another vehicle.

Idaho State Police report that 28-year-old Justin Blau of Twin Falls was taken by ambulance to Cassia Regional Medical Center in Burley after he lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a snowplow in the median of Interstate 84 near the Cotterel Port of Entry.

ISP also report that a TFCSO deputy was injured when his patrol vehicle was struck by a car traveling north on U.S. Highway 93 near Twin Falls Sunday night. 35-year-old Twin Falls County Sheriff's deputy Stanton Wiggins of Filer was taken by ambulance to St. Luke's Magic Valley Regional Medical Center. ISP closed U.S. 93 for nearly six hours Sunday evening while investigating the crash.

Meanwhile, in the Treasure Valley, police are looking for the public's help in their investigation of a Dec. 27 accident in Garden City that sent a woman to the hospital.

Garden City Police say they have identified the driver of a vehicle that made a right turn from Chinden Boulevard to Curtis Road and reportedly struck a female pedestrian. The victim was taken to a local  hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. But police are asking anyone who may have witnessed the crash to assist their investigation by calling Crime Stoppers at 343-COPS.
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Monday, December 22, 2014

Idaho State Police's Longest-Serving Trooper to Retire

Posted By on Mon, Dec 22, 2014 at 5:04 PM

Captain Danny Bunderson is set to retire after 38 years on the Idaho State Police force. - IDAHO STATE POLICE
  • Idaho State Police
  • Captain Danny Bunderson is set to retire after 38 years on the Idaho State Police force.
Idaho State Police Captain Danny Bunderson has served in the Idaho State Police Force since 1977, but ISP's longest-serving trooper is stepping down Wednesday, Dec. 31, after 38 years on the force.

"I learned early on in my career that building positive working relationships was the only way to effectively provide quality law enforcement to the people of Idaho, the type of quality they expect from their law enforcement communities," Bunderson wrote in a press release. 

Bunderson currently serves as ISP District 6 Commander, and has served in ISP's Vehicle Theft Unit, for 13 years as a trooper, and as district commander in two ISP districts. He also graduated from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Academy in Quantico, Va., in 1997.

His achievements include the reconstruction of the District 2 office in Lewiston after it was struck by a runaway truck on Lewiston Hill, serving as a member of the governing board of the Eastern Idaho Critical Incident Task Force, and working with numerous local law enforcement agencies to establish a means of communication along the US12/US93/SH28 corridor by installing emergency call stations in preparation of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial.

Lieutenant Steve Davis, supervisor of District 6 Investigations for the last decade, has been promoted to Captain to replace Bunderson as ISP's District 6 Commander starting Thursday, Jan. 1.
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'Bill' Bones Selected to Lead Boise Police Department

Posted By on Mon, Dec 22, 2014 at 12:51 PM

Boise Mayor Dave Bieter announces his choice for next Boise Police Chief: Deputy Chief Bill Bones (background). - GEORGE PRENTICE
  • George Prentice
  • Boise Mayor Dave Bieter announces his choice for next Boise Police Chief: Deputy Chief Bill Bones (background).
Boise Mayor Dave Bieter's new communications chief Mike Journee turned to his boss Monday morning to note that a conference room at Boise Police Headquarters was packed.

"He said, 'You have a room full of media and police. And that's often not a good thing,'" said Bieter. referring to a string of troubling headlines from other American cities. "But in this case, it's a very, very good thing."

In fact, the room may well have been the safest in Boise Dec. 22, as Bieter revealed his choice to be Boise's newest police chief, 22-year veteran of the force Deputy Chief William Bones who is in line to replace Chief Mike Masterson who will step down Jan. 29, 2015, after serving ten years as Boise's top cop—the second-longest serving chief in the city's history.

"111 people were interested in the job," said Bieter, who added that the 32 of those made it to what he called "the first grade" of the selection process. "We interviewed eight people over the phone and three people in person. This was an open and competitive but very intense process."

Bieter said Bones came out "clearly on top" of the field and had to "endure one final obstacle: an endorsement from the Idaho Statesman," referring to the daily paper's odd decision to endorse Bones, in an editorial, to be Boise's next police chief. 

BPD Deputy Chief Bill Bones (with current Chief Mike Masterson far left): "When we make mistakes, we'll tell you about those too, but we'll work together to fix them." - GEORGE PRENTICE
  • George Prentice
  • BPD Deputy Chief Bill Bones (with current Chief Mike Masterson far left): "When we make mistakes, we'll tell you about those too, but we'll work together to fix them."
Bones called Monday's announcement (the Boise City Council must formally approve the appointment), the "greatest single honor of my career."

Bones then proceeded to point to a string of BPD officers, who he called family, and their achievements in community policing.

"When we make mistakes, we'll tell you about those too, but we'll work together to fix them," said Bones. 

In his praise for Masterson, Bieter pointed to what he said were "eight straight years of diminishing crime in Boise and a good deal of that success comes from the Chief."

Masterson continued to heap praise on Bones, saying that he had been "impressed by the Deputy Chief's ethics and decision-making."

And it shouldn't have come to anyone's surprise that Bones rose through the ranks.

"For at least the past ten years of his 22 years in the department, Deputy Chief Bones has been grooming himself to be a chief," said Bieter, pointing to Bones's repeated requests to handle extra duties. "He could have been a chief somewhere else. But we're very happy that he''ll be the new chief here."

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