Missoula Police Chief Explains Budget Request for New Officers
Included in Missoula Mayor John Engen’s proposed city budget is a request for two new sworn police officers and two non-sworn community service specialists. Police chief Mike Brady explains why he believes the positions are needed.
"We've had consistent difficulties in having sufficient staff to deal with the numbers of people that come in for the summer," Brady said. "The downtown areas get very busy. It get busy not just with people patronizing the local businesses but also with those that are down there creating disturbances and are disorderly. They're aggressively panhandling and they're intoxicated on the street."
The city council debated this week, how many if any of these positions to fund. Brady explains the cost of full approval.
"If all four were funded, the request for this budget is about $200,000," Brady said. "Some of that also includes a vehicle and equipment. So it's going to be somewhere around a $350,000 ongoing expense."
Some city council members are opposing the request. Councilwoman Emily Bently says the positions probably aren’t needed and that the money could be better used on other issues like potholes, street trees, and planning.