Former Boise police chief dies; services set for Thursday

John Richard Church, the longest-serving chief in the history of the Boise Police Department, has died, current Boise Chief Bill Bones announced Tuesday. Church was 83.

Church joined Boise police in 1954 and led the department's first tactical team, according to a BPD news release. He was appointed chief in January of 1968 and remained in that position until his retirement in 1983. During his 15 years at the helm, the department grew from 60 sworn officers to140, the department reports.

As chief, Church worked to increase education standards for police officers in cooperation with the Police Officers Standards and Training Academy and Boise State, which had just created a major in criminal justice, the news release said. In 1975, he began the neighborhood team policing concept with the creation of four neighborhood "divisions" in 1975. He increased the civilian professional support staff to free up officers for active police work.

Church was born in Boise on Christmas Eve 1931. He died last week. He is survived by his wife, Dolly; two sons, Edward and John of Boise; a daughter, Dallas Turner of Boise; five grandchildren; and one great-grandson.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday at Collister Community Church, 4709 W. State St., Boise.