Boise & Garden City

Boise Police Chief Bones to step down this fall

Boise Police Chief William “Bill” Bones, 51, announced Monday that he would retire in October, bringing an end to his 27 years with the department and four years as chief.

His last day will be Oct. 24.

“Our city is one of the safest in the nation, in part, because of Bill’s authentic leadership and the trust and compassion he brought to his daily work,” Mayor David Bieter said in a news release. “As a result, Boiseans believe in the department, its officers and their hard work as they never have.”

The news release said Bones worked with the Boise Police Department as well as the community to bring the city to its lowest crime rate in 25 years. Crime data released in July found that in 2018, Boise’s crime rate was at a 25-year low, matching a national trend. Violent crimes, such as murder and rape, dropped from 58.36 crimes per 1,000 people in 1994 to 22.75 crimes per 1,000 people in 2018.

Bieter appointed Bones chief in 2015. Before that, he was deputy chief. He served previously in several other roles since joining the department in 1992, including commanding three divisions within the department: patrol, internal affairs and criminal investigations. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy.

Bones oversaw the investigation into Timmy Earl Kinner Jr., who stabbed nine refugees at a birthday party in June 2018, killing the 3-year-old birthday girl.

Jennifer Bones puts on a pink pin on Boise Police Chief Bill Bones before a memorial service for Ruya Kadir, a 3-year-old immigrant killed in a mass stabbing, at the Boise Centre in July 2018. Meiying Wu

Former Boise Police Chief Mike Masterson will serve as interim chief starting Oct. 25. The city will conduct a nationwide search for a new chief, according to the news release.

In an open letter published Monday on the city’s website, Bones shared moments he said he would never forget as a part with BPD, including the death of Officer Mark Stall, believed to be the first officer killed in the line of duty in Boise.

Listing moments that “make up a career,” he wrote about teaching a 7-year-old refugee to ride a bike after only a week in the United States, about participating in “Shop with a Cop,” and about a time a man he had arrested came back and thanked him for changing his life.

“I find it incredibly difficult to close the cover on a career I have loved, but I also recognize a Police Department in a rare moment, poised for its own transition to the next chapter,” he wrote. “As difficult as it is to leave, this is the right moment. With absolute gratitude to the men and women of the Boise Police Department and to each of you who make the City of Boise who we are, I announce my forthcoming retirement.”

He said it was his “distinct honor” to have served with those in the department.

Bones was recently named as a defendant in a whistleblower lawsuit also against the city. The suit alleged that Bones, along with other BPD officials, knew that Lt. Greg Oster retaliated against Cpl. Norman “Denny” Carter, who reported him for selling weapons from his desk at the department’s headquarters at Mark Stall Place.

Carter said Bones also personally retaliated against him by not ordering the removal of “defamatory” comments made by Oster’s wife on a Police Department post on Facebook.

Mike Journee, the mayor’s spokesman, told the Idaho Statesman that the weapons sales and lawsuit had nothing to do with Bones’ decision to resign. Bones had been planning to retire for a while, and Bieter, who has “full confidence” in him, asked Bones last year to stay longer, Journee said by phone.

According to previous Statesman reporting, Bones made about $165,000 a year, making him the third highest-paid employee in the city, behind only Airport Director Rebecca Hupp and Boise Fire Chief Dennis Doan.

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Hayley covers local government for the Idaho Statesman with a primary focus on Boise. Previously, she worked for the Salisbury Daily Times, the Hartford Courant, the Denver Post and McClatchy’s D.C. bureau. Hayley graduated from Ohio University with degrees in journalism and political science.If you like seeing stories like this, please consider supporting our work with a digital subscription to the Idaho Statesman.