MISSOULA – Rural law enforcement agencies came from all over the state Tuesday to discuss how to try and get federal funding for their towns.
The US Attorney’s Office in conjunction with the Montana Sheriff’s and Peace Officers Association hosted a forum to discuss how rural law enforcement can find and write grants for money to help fund their departments.
Department of Justice official Matt Dummermuth and the Director of the Community Oriented Policing Services Phil Keith were on hand to discuss with the different rural leaders about what opportunities are out there and how to apply for these grants.
US Attorney Kurt Alme said both are the most knowledgeable source on the topic and are an incredible resource for rural law enforcement to take advantage of.
While most areas of the country are seeing a decrease in crime, Montana has seen an increase within the past decade and the US Attorney’s Office says that a session like this is crucial to trying to invert that trend.
“The resources into Montana are incredibly important. Montana, as we talked about, has seen a 35 % increase in violent crime from 2013 to 2017. We are dealing with serious substance abuse issues. Not only opioids but a meth crisis,” Alme said.
“You add those issues and then other burdens on law enforcement. For instance, a lot of appropriate focus on missing or murdered indigenous women and the need to find missing people puts an added burden on law enforcement,” Alme continued.
“Especially in rural law enforcement, and so to the extent that we can get federal dollars that are intended for this use back into our state, back into working for the taxpayers who paid them in is good for Montana,” he concluded.
This is the first time that this kind of opportunity has been offered to rural law enforcement in Montana and leaders came from as far as Roosevelt County to take place in the forum.
The forum was part of the MSOA convention which will continue through June 21.