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Boise Mayor Announces Pick for Director of Office of Police Oversight 

click to enlarge - Boise Mayor Dave Bieter and his pick for Director of the Office of Police Oversight, Natalie Camacho Mendoza -  - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • Boise Mayor Dave Bieter and his pick for Director of the Office of Police Oversight, Natalie Camacho Mendoza
After a two year vacancy, the position of Director of the Office of Police Oversight—formerly known as the Boise Community Ombudsman—may soon be filled. At a press conference, Boise Mayor Dave Bieter announced his pick for the new director: Boise attorney and Pocatello native Natalie Camacho Mendoza.

"We are in a good place in the City of Boise, and the level of trust we have in our police department and police chief is so important to our city," Bieter said.

The Boise Community Ombudsman was established in 1999 during a wave of police officer-related incidents that had left relations between the public and the Boise Police Department strained. From its inception until July 2013, Pierce Murphy held the job, which has only recently been downsized to part time, and undergone the change in name from "Ombudsman" to "Director of the Department of Police Oversight."

"I'm aware of the lessons learned, but I'm looking forward," Camacho Mendoza said. "The City of Boise has moved forward and been successful."

Camacho Mendoza is the founder and owner of Camacho Mendoza Law, and has 26 years legal experience in Idaho and Texas, working in worker's compensation defense, civil litigation, governmental relations and policy analysis. Her other areas of experience have included tribal law, migrant labor, immigration, insurance defense, business law, employee relations and tribal law. She earned her law degree from Washburn School of Law in Kansas.

She is taking the job at a significant moment for police oversight in Boise: City officials have stressed that the search for Murphy's replacement was long because the city was looking for the "right candidate," and insist that complaints against the Boise Police Department, which the office is designed to investigate, have been at record lows for several years.

"We look across the country right now and see a lot of concerns, and we are in a good place," Bieter said.

But if the Boise City Council affirms Camacho Mendoza during its July 28 meeting, she will face a backlog of critical incident investigations, including the police officer-related shooting death of Michael Casper and either an independent investigation or review of an internal affairs inquiry into why Boise Police officers served a warrant on the wrong Parkhill apartment unit July 16.

Camacho Mendoza will work part time at the Office of Police Oversight, and will continue to practice law.
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