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'To offer a voice to our community': Boise's Office of Police Accountability is up and running

Office of police accountability .jpg
Posted at 9:04 PM, Nov 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-16 11:31:51-05

BOISE, Idaho — Boise's new Office of Police Accountability (OPA) is up and running.

The office is a new iteration of the previous Office of Police Oversight, with an increased focus on transparency and accountability when complaints are filed against the Boise Police Department.

“We exist to offer that platform for those people that don’t believe they were treated well or believed that their activity with the officer could have been handled differently. We also handle accommodations, which means good interactions between the officers and the community,” said Jesus Jara, director of OPA.

Related: Boise City Council passes ordinance to establish Office of Police Accountability

Currently, OPA is made of three investigators and administrative personnel, a total of five people. The team has been tasked to work on some cases.

“Unfortunately, the city has experienced some recent events, drastic events that led to some immediate review of that work. Our office has been ready, get to review that material and put eyes on the data that is available and answer the concerns the community has,” Jara said.

Jara said the office will also be looking into audits.

"We audit internal affairs work, which means that behind the scenes internal affairs conducts about 500 cases a year, that’s above the average, and then we come in behind after the fact and audit that works to make sure they’re thorough and fair and there are handling those matters appropriately from a civilian oversight perspective,” he said.

The office could also be called to investigate officer-involved shootings.

“Use of force where maybe there was injury, and we come in and independently handle that investigation as well,” Jara said.

Jara explained they could also provide recommendations based on their findings.

“We have a really good working relationship with the Chief of Police and the Mayor’s office. The understanding is that our office at times will come up with outcomes that aren’t too favorable, meaning we suggest training, suggest changing protocols. Our chief, without putting words in his mouth, is very open and collaborative to those conversations. We feel very good that moving forward, if we see something that we recommend changing, or we recommend additional review that it will happen,” Jara said.

To contact OPA called 208-972-8380, or to submit a case, click here.