BOISE — Mayor Lauren McLean introduces the new Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee on Wednesday.
Chief Lee has served in Portland for nearly 20 years, but he’s excited to move to Boise.
“It is an absolutely amazing community," said Lee.
Lee enters the new role at a particularly intense time. Many community members in cities across the state, including Portland, where lee currently serves, are calling to defund the police.
“I understand the sentiment behind it, but I think it’s a challenge of a modern city," said Lee,
"the need for police service is not going to disappear, especially the critical police service, and if we want police service that reflects what the community wants, there needs to be that opportunity for the officers to engage."
Mayor McLean responded that she doesn’t intend to propose that here in Boise, but hopes to work with the new chief to improve safety.
“Especially with the new chief joining us, it is the perfect time and time we absolutely must review policies, and make sure we’re doing everything we can as a city, community, and department to make sure everyone remains safe," said McLean.
Lee says he believes the public has reasonable a right to know what the police are doing. He says the efforts he made in Portland in terms of data transparency for the police bureau could be brought to Boise.
“People can see how we’re spending overtime on officers, they can see crime rates in the city, they can see police response times, they can see the use of force data, I believe that level of transparency in the information age is important for policing," said Lee,
"Because if we're going to have meaningful conversations with the public about how they want to see policing occur in their city, they need to know the actual data information so we can sit down and have a conversation about how we can best both work towards solutions."
In terms of his first priority, once he takes on the role in Boise, Chief Lee says it would’ve been to get to know the department and community leaders, but it’s a different time now than when his process began eight months ago.
“I think it’s really a strategy of going out and being accessible and available, talking to as many members of the community from all walks of life and from all corners and getting to know what the community needs from its police," said Lee.
Lee comes from Portland, Oregon, and will be sworn in on July first. He says he’s watched Portland and Seattle grow rapidly, which is a challenge Boise is facing as well. He says he desires to keep it feeling like home while being carefully watched and managed by police, public officials and stewards.