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Fentanyl control and recruitment, according to local law enforcement, are urgently needed at the moment



Bozeman, Montana – Local police enforcement officers stated at a roundtable hosted by U.S. Senator Jon Tester on Friday in Bozeman that fentanyl, recruiting, and money are the three things they need the most support with.

Tester organized the roundtable to hear from law enforcement and to discuss his cosponsorship of the Recruit and Retain Act, which is intended to assist local law enforcement agencies around the nation in hiring younger personnel.

One of the most crucial subjects for all the officials present was fentanyl. According to Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, fentanyl seizures have climbed 11,000% throughout the state since 2019.

According to Belgrade Police Chief Dustin Lensing, officers are seizing 200 to 400 pills per month and using Narcan to treat overdoses. The state’s expanding fentanyl supply needs to be contained, according to sheriffs and police chiefs.

Leo Dutton, the sheriff of Lewis and Clark County, questioned Sen. Tester about the possibility of designating the cartels smuggling fentanyl into Montana as terrorist groups in order to free up more federal resources for the investigation and prosecution of drug traffickers.

“It’ll be interesting to see what the response is when I make that recommendation and to see what further resources that could bring to stopping what the cartels are doing here in the United States,” Tester said.

Although it is not yet apparent who would make such a declaration, Tester said he intends to investigate it and advocate for it.

Recruiting is a problem, according to law enforcement leadership, as towns and populations expand across the state.

According to Bozeman Police Chief Jim Veltkamp, the assumption that there should be one officer for every 10,000 people is unrealistic. Instead of being able to patrol and deter crime, he added, cops frequently react to call after call responding to crimes.

Lewis and Clark County correctional facilities, according to Sheriff Dutton, have faced staffing shortfalls.

In addition to the academy in Helena, Tester said he wants to create one more for police officers in Montana. Although there are several aspects, such as money and staffing, that could hold down the process, he is still investigating it.

“We need to get them properly trained and get them available and hopefully we can meet the needs from a manpower standpoint. But like I said, there’s many different facets to that, from budgets, to housing, safety, a number of things,” he said.

All law enforcement officers agreed that additional financing, consistent funding, and less bureaucracy at the federal level are necessary for them to continue doing their duties successfully in their expanding communities.

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