Ravalli County Sheriff Steve Holton said his deputies will now be providing law enforcement services for the town of Stevensville.

Holton said the issue has been broached several times in the past few months.

“We had a very productive meeting with the mayor and the Stevensville Chief of Police today,” said Holton. “Unlike past meetings, we really looked at several different options that the mayor can take back to his council. It doesn’t matter what it looks like, as long as we can provide a good, solid and consistent public safety for Stevensville, which is a very important part of our community.”

Holton said the current Stevensville Police Department is severely undermanned.

“Stevensville has always had a police department, but what they have now is a real shortage in manpower,” he said. “They were a three person department, but after two resignations, only the chief was left. So, what we’re doing right now is that all calls coming into the 9-1-1 center, the sheriff’s office is responding to, whether they’re long term investigations, felonies or misdemeanors, we’re taking those calls and working them to the end.”

Holton said the sheriff’s office will provide 24-7 service in the short term, but does not have the staff to provide that service over the long term.

“We’re going to have to talk about how we can raise that staffing level, both to the town and still continue to provide service outside the city limits.”