Lucky Dog Tavern

The city of Boise in 2018 purchased property at 2223 W. Fairview Ave., then home to Lucky Dog Tavern, for a police substation, which opened Dec. 9, 2020

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BOISE — The city of Boise is looking to buy the Lucky Dog Tavern property to use for a police substation.

City Council will vote Tuesday on the $1.1 million purchase of 2223 W. Fairview Ave., according to the meeting agenda. The more than 4,300-square-foot building is on a 0.85-square-acre lot — “large enough for a larger facility to be built as the district model evolves,” the agenda reads.

A person who answered the phone at the Lucky Dog Tavern Monday was not authorized to speak about the sale, and said a manager was not available to talk about it. The meeting agenda states the city would “acquire the property subject to a month-to-month lease with the Lucky Dog Tavern, LLC.”

The goal would be to open the station in 12 to 18 months, Boise Police Chief Bill Bones said.

Roughly 18 police officers are assigned to patrol downtown Boise, but they don’t have a brick-and-mortar base. This location would house “bike-patrol operations, serve as a drop-in location for other patrol officers, and provide a visible and accessible presence in the surrounding neighborhood,” according to the meeting agenda.

The property is “ideally located in a growing and evolving downtown neighborhood,” according to the agenda item, and it “provides easy access to the downtown core, the downtown area greenbelt and parks as well as the Boise State University campus.”

While having a physical police station in the area would be helpful, Bones said it’s more of a means to an end to providing community-oriented policing.

“Much more important to me is the concept of (police officers’) ownership of the neighborhoods,” he said. That means getting to know the locals and understanding a neighborhood’s distinct identity and culture. Neighborhoods with a strong sense of community often have lower crime rates, Bones said, because people care about one another and the spaces where they live. He credits downtown Boise’s sense of place and culture as one of the the things that makes it a safe place to be, but said he’s seen a similar phenomenon occur in other parts of the city, such as the Boise Bench.

“As a police chief, I really believe that sense of neighborhood contributes to actual safety,” he said. “I would’ve never realized that 20 years ago as a new officer.”

Boise Police has assigned officers to the downtown area since 2015, as the department has moved toward an individualized policing approach based on region or neighborhood.

“It would be insane for us to serve (downtown) the same way (as West Boise), but that’s what we used to do,” Bones said.

As the city grows, BPD may look to open an additional substation.

“The long-term goal would be to put a district station in eastern downtown,” Bones said. “We’ve always talked about the Federal Way area. ... It’s probably 10 years before we need to do that, but I see that day coming.”

Tommy Simmons is the Ada County public safety reporter for the Idaho Press. Follow him on Twitter @tsimmonsipt

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