Montana law enforcement stands strong OP/ED

Thursday, July 2, 2020
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As a nation, state and society we are living in unprecedented times.

As peace officer leaders in the state of Montana, we feel it is our obligation to speak about the unnecessary injuries and deaths, suffered by any persons, at the hands of law enforcement officers who fail or refuse to live by our peace officer code of ethics.

We collectively acknowledge that incidents of excessive use of force, violence and misconduct are unacceptable and contradictory to our professional training, ethics, and personal morals.   

In every community of Montana, peace officers work to protect public safety.

We are your police officers, sheriff deputies, troopers, corrections officers, game wardens, motor carrier officers and more. Every day, we put our lives on the line so you can live, work, travel and recreate safely. In striving to fulfill our oaths and follow our code of ethics, Montana’s peace officers have earned the respect and trust of the citizens we serve.

Montana’s peace officers receive top-notch training at the Montana Law Enforcement Academy and in the field. Among other things, we are taught how to de-escalate tense situations, how to uphold citizens’ rights while protecting public safety, how to respect people of all backgrounds and circumstances in the course of our work, and how to use force only as a last resort.

We measure the effectiveness of that training by the record of our officers.

Our record is strong.

Montanans expect the highest standards of conduct from their peace officers. You rightly expect appropriate disciplinary and legal action is taken when an officer is found to have violated the oath, the code of ethics, or the laws governing our state and nation. We are committed to this.

As leaders of law enforcement agencies, we strive to be transparent, accessible, and accountable. We continually evaluate policies and practices to ensure they meet the needs of our communities.

To that end, we welcome and encourage input from our fellow citizens and our elected officials. Positive, civil, and constructive engagement is the path to genuine community-oriented law enforcement that protects public safety and the rights of all citizens.

We are members of the communities we serve. We want to thank the citizens who have shown support for Montana peace officers. We are lucky to live and work in a state that overwhelmingly supports us. As Montanans, let’s continue working together and recommit ourselves to the shared values that make our home the last best place.

-Montana Sheriffs & Peace Officers Association

-Montana Association of Chiefs of Police

-Montana Police Protective Association 

-Association of Montana Troopers

-Stillwater County Sheriff Charles “Chip” Kem

-Custer County Sheriff Tony Harbaugh

-Lake County Sheriff Don Bell

-Lewis & Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton

-Garfield County Sheriff Clay Lammers

-Hill County Sheriff Jamie Ross

-Teton County Sheriff Keith Van Setten

-Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin

-Fergus County Sheriff Rick Vaughn

-Missoula County Sheriff TJ McDermott

-Prairie County Sheriff Keifer Lewis

-Flathead County Sheriff Brian Heino

-Sheridan County Sheriff Heidi Visocan

-Fallon County Sheriff Trent Harbaugh

-Powell County Sheriff Gavin Roselles

-Butte-Silver Bow Sheriff Ed Lester

-Lincoln County Sheriff Darren Short

-Broadwater County Sheriff Wynn Meehan

-Sanders County Sheriff Tom Rummel

-Granite County Sheriff Scott Dunkerson

-Meagher County Sheriff Jon Lopp

-Dawson County Sheriff Ross Canen

-Chouteau County Sheriff Vern Burdick

-Yellowstone County Sheriff Mike Linder

-Roosevelt County Sheriff Jason Frederick

-Park County Sheriff Brad Bichler

-Valley Sheriff Tom Boyer

-Anaconda Deer Lodge Chief Tim Barkell

-Beaverhead County Sheriff Paul Craft

-Toole County Sheriff Donna Whitt

-Ravalli County Sheriff Steve Holton

-Carbon Sheriff Josh McQuillan

-Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter

-Wheatland County Sheriff Everett Misner

-Phillips County Sheriff Jerry Lytle

-Jefferson County Sheriff Craig Doolittle

-Bozeman Chief Steve Crawford

-Polson Chief Wade Nash

-Lewistown Chief Justin Jenness

-Fort Benton Chief Adam Jacques

-Livingston Chief Dale Johnson

-Dillon Chief Don Guiberso

-Libby Chief Scott Kessel

-Great Falls Chief Dave Bowen

-Miles City Chief Doug Colombik

-Glasgow Chief Brien Gault

-Havre Chief Gabe Matosich

-Missoula Chief Jaeson White

-Belgrade Chief EJ Clark

-Billings Chief Rich St. John

-Kalispell Chief Doug Overman

-HamiltonChief Ryan Oster

-Helena Chief Steve Hagen

-Gallatin Airport Authority Chief Bill Dove

-Montana Attorney General Tim Fox

-Montana Highway Patrol Colonel Tom Butler

-Bryan Lockerby, Administrator of Montana Division of Criminal Investigation

-Glen Stinar, Administrator of the Montana Law Enforcement Academy

-Perry Johnson, Executive Director of the Montana Public Safety Officer Standards and Training Council

-Duane Williams, Administrator of the Montana Motor Carrier Services