Media Guide

The Boise Police Department is a major source of news in the Boise Community. Like the news media, BPD operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. And like the media, we serve the citizens of this community, in part, through collecting and sharing important information.

The purpose of the information here is to educate reporters to resources available. The release of information from the BPD to the media will be in the spirit of the department’s media policy and in accordance with Idaho Code. This guide is a reference only, and not intended to cover every possible situation.

The Purpose of This Guide

Available Information

What information is available from Boise Police Department and how best to access it.

What is Not Available

When and why certain information may not be available.

Access

How to access information from the department during breaking news or critical incidents. It will also explain how to obtain supporting or background information, like crime stats or trends.

Breaking News and News Releases

Breaking news is often posted first on BPD's Twitter account. Twitter updates on breaking news may be posted prior to emailed information, and in some cases, may take place of an email.

BPD news releases are posted on our homepage and are automatically distributed via an automated email alert system and to Twitter. Anyone may sign up to receive BPD news releases.

Who To Call

The BPD Public Information Office manages media inquiries, public education and community relations for the department and is authorized to act as a department spokesperson.

Media Line: (208) 570-6180

The Media Line is answered as quickly as possible during normal business hours. If daily demands mean the phone is not answered, leave a message and it will be returned as soon as possible. Weekends, Nights, Holidays: BPD does not staff a PIO during the evening or weekends. It’s just not in the budget.

For breaking news on weekends, nights and holidays, the Watch Commander is typically able to provide available information

Watch Commander(208) 377-6790

The Watch Commander is able to provide basic info on breaking crime incidents. If you call a Watch Commander immediately after a report goes out over the radio, he or she will have no more info than you do. It may be at least 30 minutes, sometimes longer, until details are available for public release.

Watch Commanders are in the patrol division and not briefed on cases that involve detectives or ongoing investigations (different divisions – different jobs). If you’d like a weekend or evening follow up on an ongoing investigation, please plan ahead and get the info from the Communications Director/PIO during normal business hours.

Public Information Officer

PIO’s may be called in during off hours by department commanders. Information on ongoing investigations is released as the investigation allows and at the direction of the investigating officers. What this means for newsrooms is, your inquiries about updates on investigations needs to happen during normal business hours. Information will not be released at 2:00 a.m. unless it’s at the direction of an investigator.

Crimes and Arrests

Boise Police follow Idaho Code 9-335 and the BPD Media Policy when releasing information to the public

What Information Is Available
  • Type or nature of an event or crime
  • Location, date, time, damages, general description of incident*
  • Name, sex, age of person arrested
  • Time, place of arrest*
  • Place of suspect's detention and amount of bond available from the jail
  • Names of officers involved in critical incidents will be released as soon as the information is available based on the needs of the resulting investigation

*If the location of arrest / crime identifies victims, this information will not be available.

What Information May Be Available
  • Idaho law allows that names of suspects 14 or over charged with an actual crime may be released. It is the policy of the BPD to release those names only with the approval of the Chief. In the spirit of protecting juveniles, those names are not typically released by the department, but may be available though District Courts if the juvenile is to be tried as an adult. Names of juveniles charged with status crimes will not be released.
  • Specific cause of death, if officially determined by the cororner
  • Very general description of injuries sustained as viewed by the officers - typically described as a life threatening or non-life threatening
  • Booking photos are available through the Ada County Sheriff.
What Information is Not Available
  • Identity or address of victims
  • Identity or address of witnesses
  • Identity of juvenile suspects under age 14
  • Medical conditions
  • Name of deceased individuals are not released by BPD. Following notification of next of kin, names of the deceased are typically released through the Ada County Coroner
  • Results of any investigation procedure, such as line ups, polygraph tests, ballistics tests, etc
  • Information that may interfere with an ongoing investigation or apprehension of a suspect.
  • Evidence that may be adversely effect a court proceeding
  • Status of persons turned over to the custody of Health and Welfare, such as mental holds or child custody situations

Mental Holds and Child Custody

Police Officers routinely deal with people who have diagnosed or suspected mental illness. Medical conditions are protected under the medical records provision of the public records act. If a police action results in the hospitalization of an individual for treatment of mental illness, it’s the policy of the Boise Police Department to publically state that the individual is in the custody of the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare. Additional information will likely not be available.

Child protection actions and child custody are also protected by law. Children taken into protective custody for whatever reason are provided protection of their identities and status under state and federal statutes. It is the policy of the BPD to publically state only that children have been placed in “safe” custody without further specifying their location, the agency or family member involved.

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