MISSOULA — Missoula Police Chief Jaeson White who took over last March and is now more than a year in his post, says he's working towards the goals he originally set out.
The Missoula Police Department is the second-largest police department in the state, and Chief White says he's working to be more transparent with the public about their duties.
Members of the Missoula City Council heard from him on Wednesday in a data presentation that gave more context on the department's role.
"Our whole purpose here is to make sure that we are providing professional police services, and we are improving the quality of life for our community,” Chief White said.
A first of its kind for Missoula, the 2020 Missoula Police Department annual report highlights information like drug use, calls for service, and staffing.
It says illegal drug use continues to drive up violent crime - with 87 more aggravated assaults, and two more homicides over the previous year.
"It causes all of us great concern,” Chief White said adding that Missoula can't police its way out of that.
"There also needs to be the ability for people who have substance use disorders to get the assistance that they need,” Chief White said.
One thing not in the report, information on missing person's cases.
Council members asked for an update on the federal pilot program -- the Missing Murdered Indigenous Persons Response Plan -- to coordinate city jurisdiction with tribes with on missing and murdered indigenous people's cases.
"We have attended several meetings to work on developing response protocols that would lay out a foundation for everyone in this area,” Chief White said.
“Whether or not the incident occurred on tribal lands or within the City of Missoula, that we all operate and function and report on the same mechanism so we all can be on the same page to resolve those matters,” he added.
Chief White is looking ahead to include that -- and more -- in the next report. "Here's my list of things that I want to add to next year,” Chief White concluded.