BOISE, Idaho — Boise Police Department Chief Ryan Lee resigned from his position on Friday, at the request of Boise Mayor Lauren McLean, effective Oct. 14.

According to the press release, "McLean has appointed retired officer Ron Winegar as acting chief. He is expected to start on Tuesday, September 27, 2022. Winegar is well known to the community and to the department, having spent 27 years as a Boise Police Officer."

Loading ...

The announcement of Lee's resignation came about 24 hours after KTVB published a report about a number of complaints filed by officers about the chief.

Following Lee's resignation, KTVB reached out to the Mayor's office for a statement. The Boise City PIO, Maria Weeg, responded via text: "It became clear to the mayor the department needed different leadership."

According to a memo dated April 5, obtained by KTVB and written by OPA Director Jesus Jara — it stated that Lee should be suspended on paid leave pending a further investigation into the complaints, so that “it will create an environment where a fair and thorough investigation can be completed.” The memo was never posted publicly. But, the investigation report was a binder full, according to the memo. 

It also stated that the investigation should continue with a third-party firm that specializes in “employment law and potentially hostile work environments.”

Credit: OPA

According to a city spokesperson, Lee was never suspended with pay, in his previous criminal investigation, or during this investigation. 

The city did do its own investigation, according to Boise Chief of Staff, Courtney Washburn. 

She told KTVB in a statement that she reviewed the information and asked for a third-party review of the OPA investigation report. 

“That independent investigation determined that there was no violation of city or BPD policy or procedure that would support the action of Administrative Leave in regards to the Chief of Police. The investigation also indicated that several complaints were already under investigation by other agencies and/or the Office of Internal Affairs,” she said in the statement.

Loading ...

She elaborated to say the findings showed they did, however, need to create more procedures to ensure clarity for BPD employees.

In an email dated May 9 from the OPA Director Jara, it said that the Mayor's office had an outside counsel review the investigation and determined there were no violations of policy. 

"The OPA office does not plan on investigating this further, as it has turned into a personnel matter," the email said.

In an exclusive interview with KTVB on Friday, Mayor Lauren McLean said that her office did not pursue further action into Lee because there was no violation of policy.

"I directed a third party review," she said. "The reports that OPA had collected and that third party legal review found no cause for administrative leave."

KTVB asked if McLean could elaborate on why other officers can be suspended with pay, and why Lee never was, even for a criminal investigation that led to no charges.

There was no violation of HR policy, she reiterated. 

"We did, however, address management expectations at every point in the conversations we've had with the department and the chief," McLean said.

McLean said its important that the department has management that is held accountable, but that they need a management who also supports change.

McLean also said that as they've grown as a city, they've also asked for that change with officers.

"I'm committed to getting to the bottom of this, many questions have been asked. It's my job to ensure that all of our department directors are creating environments that allow their employees to follow the mission of the organization and provide service to the City of Boise," McLean said. She will continue to discuss further actions with the police union and the chief.

7 Investigates:

KTVB’s award winning investigative team reports on local, crime, and breaking news across Idaho.

KTVB is now on Roku and Amazon Fire TVs. Download the apps today for live newscasts and video on demand.

Download the KTVB mobile app to get breaking news, weather and important stories at your fingertips.

Loading ...

Sign up for the Daily 7 newsletter: Your forecast. Your commute. Your news.