BOISE -- Police Chief Don Pierce, a player in the recent scandal that led to the imprisonment of the former mayor, resigned Friday at the request of new Mayor Dave Bieter.

"Change is needed in our law enforcement leadership," Bieter said.

In a letter to Bieter, Pierce said he was hopeful that the imbroglio has ended.

"I recognize that my actions during that time have resulted in some serious questions on your part as to my ability to continue to serve the citizens of this city," Pierce wrote.

Lt. Jim Tibbs, a 30-year veteran of law enforcement, has been named acting police chief. Bieter also said a search committee will be assembled to find candidates to fill the position.

Pierce, the former Bellingham chief of police, came to Boise in 2000 and earned a strong reputation for his work in community policing in Boise. He made progress in changing a negative public image of the department after six police-involved shootings in 17 months resulted in the deaths of eight people.

But he came under fire for his handling of an internal investigation into an illegal pleasure trip by Coles to New York City with his chief of staff, Gary Lyman, and two female city employees.

Coles and Lyman are serving sentences for misusing public money. Pierce's initial investigation found that no crimes were committed; and Pierce was captured on videotape returning merchandise to City Hall that was suspected of having been stolen by Lyman.

"I believe the Boise Police Department has continued to progress as an effective policing organization during my tenure. I am proud of many of the accomplishments of the management team during the past four years," Pierce said in a prepared statement released Friday.

"I am most proud of the successes in the area of diversification and public trust," he continued.

In related events Friday, Coles finished a behavioral modification class he was ordered to take by 4th District Judge Thomas Neville and is seeking early release from the Ada County Jail.

Coles is serving a 180-day sentence after pleading guilty to one count of misuse of public money and one count of presentation of a fraudulent voucher.

Neville said Coles could start work release after finishing the behavior class.


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