Public Safety is a fundamental service that lies at the heart of our local government, and in Missoula, we are fortunate to have dedicated and compassionate professionals serving in our police and fire departments, as well as throughout our city. Our first responders are often the initial point of contact for many residents, making them exceptional ambassadors for Missoula. They handle a wide range of situations that go beyond traditional expectations, from connecting individuals to essential services to providing medical assistance, conducting well-checks, and supporting Missoulians during critical moments in their lives.

In Missoula, we prioritize public safety through the strong foundation of our fire and police departments, and we extend our commitment through various programs such as the Crisis Intervention Team, Mobile Response Team, Crime Victim Advocacy, Domestic Violence Support, and our collaboration with Missoula Emergency Services Ambulance, along with working closely with neighboring agencies.

As a community, it is our responsibility to ensure inclusive support for our first responders. This entails providing fair wages and comprehensive benefits that reflect the value of their critical work. Moreover, we must prioritize their mental health support and offer advanced training opportunities to enhance their skills and effectiveness. By investing in our first responders, we invest in the safety and well-being of every Missoulian.

Our campaign is dedicated to strengthening public safety in Missoula by advocating for increased resources, modern facilities that meet today's needs and realities, fair compensation, and comprehensive support systems for our first responders. We will work tirelessly to foster a safer community where our dedicated professionals can continue serving with the utmost excellence, compassion, and effectiveness. Together, let us build a Missoula that thrives on the foundation of public safety and ensures the security and peace of mind of all its residents.

  • Missoula Fire Department - As the number of calls for service our Fire Department responds to each year continues to grow, over 12,500 last year, it becomes clear the City of Missoula has not kept up its side of the bargain. Missoula has not added meaningful full-time firefighter positions to our crews since 2008, while the population and tourism have boomed. We must look to the future and ensure our fire services can maintain their goal of responding to every call in less than six minutes. I will work with the fire department, the fire union, and the community to implement the Master Fire Plan including addressing our staffing shortages and working towards a New Station Six and a realistic approach to Station Seven over the horizon. Competitive pay and benefits to encourage recruitment and retention are needed, and support for all first responders' mental health and trauma response needs must be the expectation.¬†
  • Missoula Police Department - Modern policing requires a commitment to service, training, and building trust based on high ethical standards. Community policing is based on building trust and collaboration with Missoulians. If our standard is a modern police department it is our responsibility to provide the tools, training, and support necessary to meet this standard. We must do all we can to reduce the risks related to policing and create a safe work environment. This means modern equipment and modern training to match an environment that is everchanging. The men and women of the Missoula Police Department see our community in some of its most vulnerable moments and we are committed to providing the facilities and infrastructure for them to do the best job they can. This includes police department facilities that provide safe and secure areas for the public, for crime victims, and for our officers. The city and the department have outgrown their current space, and it is anything but modern.¬†Competitive pay and benefits to encourage recruitment and retention are needed, and support for all first responders' mental health and trauma response needs must be the expectation.¬†
  • Mobile Response Team - The priority is to fully fund and support the Mobile Support Team (MST), a partnership between the Missoula Fire Department (MFD) and Partnership Health Center (PHC). MST aims to respond to behavioral health crisis calls in a therapeutic manner, alleviating the burden on traditional first responders. By providing a direct path to community resources and support, MST aims to prevent individuals in crisis from ending up in jail or the emergency room. Recognizing the reality of mental illness and the underfunding of state support, prioritizing MST is crucial. Empowering people to find solutions and implementing this program can help ease tension and prevent unnecessary escalation of situations, ultimately benefiting both individuals in crisis and the community as a whole.
  • Crisis Intervention Team - The interaction between the criminal justice and mental health care systems is a critical issue that affects the well-being and rights of individuals experiencing mental health crises. Historically, individuals with mental health conditions have often been misunderstood, stigmatized, and disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system. This can lead to negative outcomes, including further stigmatization, inadequate or inappropriate treatment, and a cycle of repeated interactions with law enforcement. The CIT Model addresses this issue by bringing together diverse stakeholders to collaboratively address the challenges at the intersection of mental health and criminal justice. By reducing stigma and the need for further involvement with the criminal justice system, it helps ensure that individuals in crisis receive appropriate support and treatment. This approach promotes better outcomes for individuals with mental health conditions, enhances community safety, and reduces the strain on law enforcement resources.
  • Crime Victim Advocacy - It is a priority to build on and strengthen the existing crime victim advocacy program, which provides essential support and resources to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking. By ensuring adequate funding and enhancing the program's capacity, we can continue to connect victims with the necessary resources and support they need to navigate the challenges they face.
  • First-Responder Mental Health - Prioritize and support the mental health of first responders by providing comprehensive mental health programs, resources, and training. This includes creating a supportive work environment, implementing proactive mental health screenings, offering confidential counseling services, and promoting peer support networks. By addressing the unique challenges and stressors faced by first responders, we can safeguard their well-being, enhance their job performance, and promote resilience in the face of critical incidents. Ultimately, investing in first responder mental health not only benefits the individuals themselves but also improves the overall safety and effectiveness of emergency response services.