Boise’s police chief was hired just 10 months ago. He plans to retire in September

Police Chief Ron Winegar plans to retire later this year after nearly three decades with the Boise Police Department.

Winegar, who also served as interim chief, will retire on Sept. 20, the 27th anniversary of the night he and Boise Police Officer Mark Stall were shot at during a traffic stop in 1997, according to a news release from the city. Stall was killed by the shooter during the traffic stop, and Winegar was injured.

With Winegar’s retirement announced, Boise now will be seeking its fourth police chief since 2019.

Winegar previously retired in 2021. He then took on the role of interim chief in September 2022 and was officially appointed as chief on April 27, 2023, at the request of Boise Mayor Lauren McLean.

The transition provided the city with a permanent leader after former Chief Ryan Lee resigned several months prior amid internal complaints about his management becoming public, which followed an incident in which he injured a subordinate during a neck restraint demonstration.

Boise Police Chief Ron Winegar said in the news release that he is “proud and humbled” to have served the community for the past 29 years.
Boise Police Chief Ron Winegar said in the news release that he is “proud and humbled” to have served the community for the past 29 years.

“He has an incredible commitment to service and will be missed by the department, the city and our community,” McLean said of Winegar in the news release. “I will always be grateful that he was willing to serve when I called and look forward to his continued leadership as we begin the search for a new chief.”

Winegar began as a patrol officer with the department in 1993. He served as acting chief after former Chief William “Bill” Bones retired in 2019 and as deputy chief until 2021, the Idaho Statesman reported.

Since he was hired as chief just 10 months ago, the department has come under scrutiny, particularly following an incident last June that saw an officer fatally shoot a 22-year-old man downtown. The shooting sparked a number of protests, but police have refused to release details about what happened.

That incident was one of four fatal shootings Boise police were involved in last year.

The news release said Winegar’s focus in his role has been on leadership development, filling vacancies and supporting officers’ health and wellness.

He’s paid an annual salary of $196,352, a city spokesperson previously told the Statesman.

“During my time as chief, we have made great strides as an organization,” he said in the news release. “I love the people of this department and this community, and I know our sworn officers and professional staff will continue to work diligently to provide a safe and welcoming city for everyone.”

Winegar said he looks to spend more time with family and loved ones in retirement.

McLean now will be looking to hire yet another police chief. She heralded the hiring of Lee, who took over for Bones in 2020. After Lee resigned, the mayor said there would be an extensive search for a permanent chief involving a recruiting firm; she shifted gears and did not take applications for the job, instead bumping Winegar from interim to permanent chief.

She told the Statesman’s Editorial Board in September that the decision was made, in part, because it was an election year. McLean defeated former Boise Police Chief Mike Masterson for reelection in November.

“(Winegar) said he would be here and would continue to serve as long as we needed him to serve,” she said. “I was very sensitive to, as we moved forward and I looked at what was happening nationally with police searches, to the very real question of if somebody’s going to take this job in an election year. Right? Is this going to become even more political?”

The news release announcing Winegar’s retirement said the city “will begin a search for the next chief and will release additional details on the expected timeline once a process is finalized.”

Boise area has had 11 police shootings this year. Here’s when, where and what happened

How much does Boise pay city employees? Search our 2023 salary database

He was ‘just running away’: Eyewitnesses dispute Boise police narrative of fatal shooting