Missoula’s three county commissioners met with the city council’s Committee of the Whole on Wednesday to get updates from county officials on issues that affect the city and county.

First to report was Sheriff T.J. McDermott who provided an update on the progress of the jail diversion plan.

“We’ve done several things at the Detention Center,” began McDermott. “We’ve added additional positions related specifically to monitor and review our inmate population that are identified as low-risk, non-violent or low-risk offenders, and then work with the courts, prosecutors and defense attorneys and other stakeholders to divert those folks from the jail into treatment of supervision programs. We’ve also added some programming for inmates in the facility. We’ve contracted with the parenting place that have been coming in for the last year and providing the Adverse Childhood Experience program aimed at getting people the tools to get their life back on track.”

McDermott listed several other recommendations that have yet to be implemented.

“Some of the additional recommendations are still focused on adding additional mental health services in our facilities, mental health providers and caseworkers, specifically for inmates inside the facility, as well as an effort to connect them with the proper services after they’re released. We’re looking forward to a larger investment by both the city and the county into our mental health services.”

Also appearing before the combined meeting was Adriane Beck, Director of the Office of Emergency Management, to discuss the Community Wildfire Protection Plan.

“One of the things we have in this plan was a definition of the wildland urban interface to make it a little more understandable about where their risk is relative to wildland fires,” said Beck. “We also have an updated hazard assessment map that I think is very compelling and that the public will enjoy looking at to determine where their risk is.”

The map can be found here.

Beck said before fire season begins, Missoula County officials will have to deal with potential flooding this spring.

“Our focus right now is on flooding as we see record snowpack in the hills and on the mountains that will impact the Clark Fork Valley basin in particular, but certainly, we’ll keep an eye on the summer and the upcoming wildland fire season, as well.”


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