UPDATE: Idaho Dispatch received the following email from the Boise Police Department regarding several follow up questions we had about whether they did have rifles and whether or not the BPD had the same type of operations during the summer Black Lives Matter protests. Here is the response we received:
Hi Greg, BPD was aware of threats that came from multiple sources, some were specific, some were vague. BPD had the same police response to many of the large events and protests over the summer. We specifically said tools in the video because we are not providing that specific information.I hope this answers some of your questions.Thank you.
Idaho Dispatch received the following transcript of a video (view video here) Boise Police Department has put out regarding “snipers on the rooftop”:
We have received questions about BPD officers on nearby rooftops during yesterday’s demonstration at Central District Health. As with many large events of all kinds recently, BPD did have trained personnel on rooftops observing for any potential threats to members of the crowd, as well as any potential flashpoints that may arise from any source.
At no point did officers on roof tops or anywhere else point any weapons at anyone, or even have those tools visible to the crowd. While we recognize that the vast majority of the crowd at CDH yesterday was peaceful, any large, emotionally charged event, has the potential to attract conflict or lead to conflict. We have an obligation to keep people safe and to have the necessary resources on scene to respond to any situation. The officers on the roof were there to look for any potential threats and to keep the people on the ground safe.
BPD’s response to yesterday’s event matches our response to many other large events. As we have all seen too many times, large events across the country, including one in Olympia, Washington, have turned violent, with citizens being shot by citizens. In addition to potential threats, BPD was aware of actual threats of violence yesterday. As many have pointed out, though some at the event may not have even seen, there were citizens in the crowd who were heavily armed.
Again, while we can hope they are just exercising their second amendment rights, we have to be prepared for any eventuality. We as the police, do not stop people from exercising any of their constitutional rights, including 2nd amendment rights. We are there to ensure peoples’ rights are maintained, including if they choose to bring and carry firearms to a public event like this. It becomes illegal if someone uses that firearm to directly threaten or harm someone, at which point we would certainly take appropriate action to protect all who are there, including the protestors, families, children, board members and officers present.
I hope this explanation will help those of all different viewpoints better understand some of the reasons we at the Boise Police Department take the steps we do to ensure public safety in a variety of ways and situations within our City.
Idaho Dispatch did send a follow-up question about what the “actual” threats of violence were if they were allowed to be disclosed. We will update this article if that information becomes public.
What do you think of the Boise Police Department’s response? Let us know in the comments below!
Tags: Boise, Boise Police Department, Central District Health