Crime study committee on April 6 Commission agenda

City Commissioners will consider a resolution during their April 6 meeting to establish a committee to study crime issues in Great Falls.

The proposal, if approved, would create a panel of seven people who would study the issues for three to six months with the goal of having draft recommendations available for public review no later than August and a final recommendation to present to the City Commission no later than September.

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The committee will be disbanded after those recommendations are submitted to the commission.

According to the staff report, “a proposal could potentially include a safety levy to fund resources to deal with the issues.”

Mental health, crime focus of multiple agencies

According to the draft resolution, members of the committee would be recommended by the city manager to the commission and confirmed by the commission. Members must be residents of the city and “have the necessary background, training, education and experience in social sciences related to crime,” according to the draft resolution. 

Up to two commissioners will serve as ex officio members who will not make motions or vote on the committee.

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“The committee’s findings will include specifics and actionable recommendations that are within the scope, authority, and financial ability of the City Commission, city manager and general public,” according to the draft resolution.

If the committee makes its recommendations in August or September, that will likely be too late for any item that carries a cost to be included in the city budget that begins July 1 and is typically adopted in July and taxes and assessments are finalized in August.

Police, sheriff worried about rising crime; asking for community support, law changes

The effort to create the committee has been led by Commissioner Rick Tryon who raised the idea during the commission’s annual priority setting meeting in January. It was the only concrete idea to come out of the meeting which is typically used by staff to get priorities from commissioners so staff can plan the city budget accordingly.

Commissioners discussed the committee during their March 16 work session and agreed to have the resolution presented for a vote during the April 6 meeting.

Finding solutions: Local efforts for mental health court; mental health police officer; pre-trial and addiction services

Tryon and City Manager Greg Doyon have been meeting with officials at the Great Falls Police Department, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program and the local U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, as well as Municipal Court, city prosecutor’s office, Cascade County Attorney’s Office and Probation and Parole.