The ACSO gets $150,000 MacArthur Foundation grant

The Ada County Sheriff’s Office is one of 20 jurisdictions across the U.S. selected for the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge — a $75 million program to improve criminal justice on the local level.

That means the ACSO gets a $150,000 grant to continue our work to keep people out of jail who don’t need to be there — and to keep people who have been in jail from coming back.

Over 200 law enforcement agencies from across the U.S. applied for the Safety and Justice Challenge.

The 20 finalists range in size from large cities including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Houston to smaller localities like Ada County, Mesa County, CO, and Pennington County, SD, as well as the State of Connecticut.

The focus of the project is to reduce overcrowding in jails across the U.S. The MacArthur Foundation wants to help reduce over-incarceration by changing the way America thinks about and uses jails.

That is a perfect fit with our philosophy here at the Ada County Sheriff’s Office, where we’ve been working for years to keep people who shouldn’t be in jail from getting there if possible.

Two particular areas of emphasis for the ACSO are the pre-trial release and misdemeanor probation programs, where we use data and science to figure out which people need to be kept in jail and which ones don’t — and how to keep the people who are out accountable while making them less likely to commit future crimes while they keep their jobs and support their families.

The ACSO vision lined up with the MacArthur Foundation’s program, which is how we got to be included in the first wave of finalists for the Safety and Justice Challenge.

“Nearly 200 diverse jurisdictions responded to our challenge, reflecting nationwide interest in reducing over-incarceration,” said Julia Stasch, President of the MacArthur Foundation. “Each of the sites selected has demonstrated the motivation, collaboration, and commitment needed to make real change in their local justice systems. The aim is that local efforts will model effective and safe alternatives to the incarceration status quo for the rest of the country.”

Next year, the MacArthur Foundation will select 10 of the 20 finalists to receive a second round of funding – between $500,000 and $2 million annually, depending on the size of the jurisdiction – to implement their plans for reform. The women and men here at the ACSO are thrilled to be part of the project and will work hard to be included in that second wave next year.

Major Ron Freeman and Capt. Steve Bartlett were in Washington D.C. Wednesday for the announcement of the 20 finalists. Expect to hear more from us in the coming weeks and months about our work with the Safety and Justice Challenge.

According to recent research from the Vera Institute of Justice, nearly 75 percent of the population of both sentenced offenders and pretrial detainees across the U.S. are in jail for nonviolent offenses such as traffic, property, drug, or public order violations. Further, low-income individuals and communities of color disproportionately experience the negative consequences of incarceration.

The learn more about the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge, check out

Vandals empty tires in south Boise neighborhood but don’t deflate community spirit 

Seven families in a south Boise-area neighborhood woke up Sunday morning to find their cars and trucks had flat tires — a condition that didn’t last long thanks to ACSO deputies and a local tow company.

It seems a vandal – or group of vandals – walked along S. Sumpter Avenue in the Cloverdale/Amity roads neighborhood overnight Saturday and put pebbles in the air valves of tires of cars and trucks parked outside. The vandals left seven flat-tired cars and trucks — 18 flat tires total — in their wake.

When Ada County Sheriff’s Sgt. Derek Savage arrived at the neighborhood after the calls started coming in around 8:30 a.m., he turned back around, went home, grabbed an air compressor, and drove back. Savage and Dep. Dagan Fluke then began pumping up tires.

While that was going on, one of the victims called Rocky Mountain Towing to inflate four flat tires on their car. When the Rocky Mountain Towing crew arrived in the neighborhood and saw what happened, they joined Savage and Fluke and began inflating tires free of charge.


None of the tires had permanent damage, so it didn’t take long to get everyone up and running again.

Deputies are still looking for whoever flattened the tires. Anyone with info should call Ada County dispatch at 377-6790.

17-year-old Eagle High Student in serious trouble for purposefully crashing school district network

A 17-year-old Eagle High student who overloaded the West Ada School District’s computer network to avoid schoolwork is in serious trouble — the kind that results in felony charges.

School officials suspended the boy Friday and are recommending expulsion.

The student launched something called a Distributed Denial of Service attack on the computer network for the entire West Ada School District earlier this week.

The student paid someone to overwhelm the school district’s computer systems with traffic from multiple sources.

The effect was widespread and significant. For instance,  students from all across the district working on Idaho Standard Achievement tests lost all their work — with some students having to take the tests multiple times. Online learning classes and textbooks were not available for much of the last week. Administrative and business systems like payroll were also affected by the attack.

The attack took place earlier this week. District officials traced the source of the attack to the student and tracked him down Friday. The problem has been fixed and the network is back up.

Eagle Police continue to investigate the case. The boy will likely be charged with a felony charge of computer crime — — which is punishable by up to 180 days in a juvenile detention facility. The boy’s family will also be responsible for any financial restitution suffered by the school district.

Federal charges are also a possibility.  Eagle police are also investigating if a student at Eagle Middle School attempted to do a similar attack this week.

The West Ada School District is the biggest in Idaho, with 52 schools and over 36.000 students.

Detectives continue search for whoever spray-painted prom proposal on Black Cliffs

We are still looking for “Destiny” — and whoever did or didn’t take her to the prom.

Ada County Sheriff’s detectives continue to follow leads to find whoever spray-painted “Desinty, Prom?” on the side of the Black Cliffs east of Boise earlier this spring.

Prom 1A

Spray-painting the side of the cliff is illegal – a misdemeanor charge of injury by graffiti, punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.

That doesn’t include the cost of clean up.

The graffiti in question is on the side of the Black Cliffs in East Car Body Canyon, a popular rock climbing spot along Idaho 21 west of Lucky Peak that is also a culturally significant area to Native American tribes.

Clean up will likely be difficult and costly since it is a long hike to the top and requires scrambling over boulders.

Initial reports indicated that section of the Black Cliffs was on Bureau of Land Management land. Officials later determined the cliffs are on Idaho Fish and Game land.

Fish and Game officials are figuring out how the get the graffiti off the cliff wall while doing the least amount of damage to the rock patina. Several different options are being discussed, including sandblasting, but no decisions have been made.

Prom 2A

Ada County Sheriff’s Office, BLM, and Fish and Game officials continue to work together on the case.

Anyone with information should call Ada County dispatch at 377-6790.

Sheriff Gary Raney to retire in June

After spending over three decades serving the people of Ada County, Sheriff Gary Raney announced Thursday that he is retiring at the end of June.

There will be more to come in the days ahead as we celebrate the career of Sheriff Raney but we wanted to share the letter he sent to the Ada County Board of Commissioners earlier today.

Board of County Commissioners

Ada County

200 W. Front Street

Boise, ID 83702

Dear Commissioners:

Looking back I cannot imagine a more fulfilling career than the one I have had. Since 1983 I have been given many opportunities and worked alongside truly dedicated and honorable men and women, all culminating in the last ten years that I have been honored to serve as sheriff. When I first took office I said that when the day came that I thought I had achieved what I set out to do I would move on to the next challenge. No leader, and certainly no elected official, should stay too long. The Ada County Sheriff’s Office has grown into a nationally-recognized organization that is both innovative and accountable. We have quietly led the nation, and sometimes even the world, in the way we manage our jail. We take pride in being told that we do not act like a government organization. I have accomplished what I set out to do and, therefore, I am writing to give you notice of my retirement effective June 30, 2015.

Upon my retirement I encourage the Republican Central Committee to recommend, and then you to appoint, Captain Stephen Bartlett as the next sheriff. Aside from Major Ron Freeman, who is not seeking the appointment, there is no more qualified person than Captain Bartlett. He has proven his leadership, he knows what to do and he is ready to take charge of the years ahead and continue the great legacy of the Ada County Sheriff’s Office.

After my retirement as sheriff I will begin to work with the US Department of Justice, helping guide law enforcement agencies that need assistance solving problems. I have always considered myself a problem solver and this position will allow me to tackle important issues all across the nation. It is a rare opportunity and I am thrilled.

Lastly, I want to take this opportunity to thank the men and women who have made the Sheriff’s Office what it is today. I may set the policy or direction, but they deserve the accolades because really it’s that one deputy who takes the extra time with a victim, or goes out of his or her way to help someone in need, that makes all the difference in the world. I am proud of each and every one of them for keeping our county safe and making this a great place to live.



Ada County Sheriff

An 18-month-old boy died Monday after falling into an irrigation canal near Kuna

Ada County Sheriff’s deputies were sent to the 7500 block of S. Ten Mile Road, just north of the W. Columbia Road intersection, at 1:17 p.m. after dispatchers got a 911 call the boy had fallen into the water.

Initial reports indicate a group of young kids was playing behind a house near the canal when the boy went missing.

Once a family member noticed one of the kids was gone, she and others immediately began searching the area.

A family member found the boy in the water more than 60 feet away from where he likely fell in. The boy was not breathing. The family member began CPR immediately and someone else called 911.

Paramedics arrived, began treating the boy immediately, and rushed him to St. Luke’s Meridian Medical Center. The boy was declared dead a short time later.

The case is still under investigation.

Irrigation canals can be very dangerous. The water flows fast and cold, and it can be very difficult to get out once someone has fallen in.

Go to to get more information about canal safety.

Update: Deputies arrest man who robbed Paul’s Market on Thursday night

Ada County Sheriff’s deputies say public input led to the arrest of 34-year-old Andrew Reed Buzard for an armed robbery at Paul’s Market Thursday night.

ACTION team deputies and U.S. Marshals arrested Buzard at his residence on W. Brownstone Drive just after 4:30 p.m. Saturday. The home is about four blocks from Paul’s Market, which is on the corner of Lake Hazel and Five Mile Roads.

Buzard, who used a handgun to threaten a clerk during Thursday’s hold-up, is being held in the Ada County Jail on a felony charge of robbery.

Ada County Sheriff’s Captain Steve Bartlett thanked the public Saturday for their help.

“A tip from the public ultimately led our detectives to identify the person who did this violent crime,” Bartlett said. “We are very grateful to have citizens who care so much about keeping our community safe.”

The robbery occurred just before 10:15 p.m. Thursday. A man wearing a black hooded sweatshirt walked into the store, located in the 10000 block of W. Lake Hazel Road, took out a gun, and demanded a store employee give him money from the store. Once the robber had the money, he made the clerk lay on the ground while he walked out.

Witnesses described the robber as being about 5-foot-8 to 10 inches tall and about 200 pounds. He has short-cropped light colored hair, olive-colored skin, and hazel eyes. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, jeans, and bright blue tennis shoes. FullSizeRender

Deputies arrived moments later but were not able to locate the robber in the area.

Security photos and video from the store were posted on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and traditional media outlets by Friday morning. By Friday afternoon, tips were rolling in. it wasn’t long before someone identified Buzard from the images and contacted our deputies.

By Saturday afternoon, deputies located Buzard and arrested him without incident. Detectives found evidence at the Brownstone Drive home linking Buzard to the robbery.

Buzard will make his initial court appearance Monday afternoon. The crime of robbery is punishable by up to life in prison, with a five-year minimum sentence.

Sheriff Raney thanks the public for their continuing help with Cartwright Road homicide case

An Ada County grand jury indicted Adam Michael Dees on three counts of first-degree murder Wednesday in connection with the deaths of Ted, Elaine, and Thomas Welp in March.

The grand jury also charged Dees with felony counts of robbery and use of a firearm or deadly weapon in the commission of a crime.

Dees, who was already charged with felony counts of grand theft and forgery in connection with items being taken from the Welp’s home, is being held in the Ada County Jail with no bond.

Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney and Prosecutor Jan Bennetts told a group of reporters Wednesday the grand jury was able to make those indictments thanks to the tireless work of detectives and other investigators since the Welps were found dead inside their Foothills home in early March.

Indictment 1

A major part of that investigative work would not have been possible without the help of the public, Raney said.

“Right after this case broke, I asked people to call in with leads … We got those leads, thanks to people who gave us that observation, who went out of their way to go dig something up that they might have thought was suspicious.

Those things will ultimately be presented at trial. But what is unique about this is it wasn’t just the people directly involved or directly impacted (by the murders). It was people who could have just as easily turned the other way, gone about their business and not taken the extra time. But they took the extra time, and because of that, we have a good case.”

Raney said Wednesday that ACSO detectives will continue to work to bring justice to the Welp family.

“Over the past four weeks, (detectives) have spent well over 1,000 hours following up leads, processing the crime scene, and gathering every piece of evidence (they) could gather.

I am very proud of the work that they have done … it’s taken time away from their families and personal lives, but they are here to bring justice for this case and they’ve done an exceptional job of doing that.”

The grand jury determined Dees used a baseball bat and gun to kill all three members of the Welp family inside their Cartwright Road home sometime between March 8 and 9. The grand jury also determined Dees used force to rob the Welps — stealing credit cards and jewelry — and then committed the crimes of grand theft and forgery by using the Welp’s credit cards at stores.

An arraignment hearing for Dees will be set sometime during the next several weeks in front of a 4th District Judge. Dees will be able to enter a plea during that hearing. If he pleads not guilty, a jury trial will be scheduled.

Both Raney and Bennetts thanked the Welp family for their trust and support over the last month.

“In such a time of tragedy, (the Welp family) had nothing but grace and class throughout this process,” Sheriff Raney said. “They have been so great. We hope that this process, as we hand this investigation over to the Ada County prosecutors office, for the furtherance of justice, brings them the day they deserve.”

Detectives find over two pounds of pot, dozens of ecstasy pills at Kuna home

A 19-year-old Kuna man who sold drugs to undercover officers earlier this year is now in custody after detectives found more drugs at his house Monday afternoon.

Morgan C. Dotson is charged with felony counts of trafficking in cocaine and marijuana and delivery of a controlled substance.

Dotson sold undercover officers small amounts of marijuana, hash oil, and cocaine on three occasions between March 17 and April 2.

Deputies served a search warrant at Dotson’s home in the 400 block of Taper Court Monday morning as part of that ongoing investigation.

They found 1,017 grams of marijuana; 79 MDMA (methylenedioxy-methamphetamine) pills, which is also known as the club drug Ecstasy; and 12 grams of Psilocybin mushrooms, another hallucinogenic, inside the home.

Dotson 1 Dotson 2

The three deals with undercover officers prior to that involved smaller amounts of marijuana, hash oil, and cocaine.

Detectives arrested Dotson at that point and booked him into the Ada County Jail.

He is set to make his initial court appearance Tuesday afternoon.

The delivery charges are punishable by up to life in prison.

An update from Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney about the Cartwright Road homicide case

“The murder of three people in their foothills home is shocking and horrific. I understand you have questions and want to know as much as possible about the investigation. I do too. The good news is Ada County Sheriff’s detectives have found lots of answers. And they are working tirelessly to piece together the case.

This investigation is about the Welps. I want justice for the victims. Every day we get one step closer to that. All of the information and evidence is being turned over to prosecutors as we move toward charges in this case.

As soon as we can share some of those details without jeopardizing our investigation into this horrible crime —  or any court proceedings that arise from it — we will.

There is one man in custody on theft and forgery charges in connection with this case. At this point in the investigation, I can tell you that man — Adam Dees — is a suspect in the triple homicide.

It is important to point out, however, that Dees is not currently charged with those deaths.

As I said before, I do not believe there is an ongoing threat in our community related to these deaths. I feel more confident than ever that is true.  I think that confidence will become clearer to you in the weeks ahead.”

 Sheriff Gary Raney