Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Missoula Police Department Captain Michael Colyer has officially been confirmed as Chief succeeding Jaeson White, who served Missoula for three years.

KGVO News spoke to Colyer on Monday about his priorities as Missoula’s Police Chief.

Captain Michael Colyer is now Missoula Police Chief Colyer

It’s no surprise to learn that Colyer’s number one priority for himself as well as the entire police force is maintaining the high ethical standards set over the years.

“I will double down on the aspect of having really exceptionally high ethical standards throughout the organization,” began Chief Colyer. “I tried throughout my career to build my reputation and trust, interaction by interaction throughout and always holding myself to high ethical standards. Of course, we do that already, but I think that it is so important now more than ever, it is so important to be beyond reproach on our ethical conduct that I'm just going to continue to double down on that with our people.”

Chief Colyer has plans to Balance the Duties of Various Police Departments

Working his way through the ranks of the police department, Colyer has seen an imbalance of duties and risk for various departments within the police force and has plans to help balance those issues.

“For years, we've struggled with this imbalance in the organization about the workload in the Detective Division, the Administration Division, and the Patrol Division,” he said. “What I mean by that is, you know, the patrol division has two-thirds of the employees and they're oftentimes the newest employees, doing a lot of these really high-risk and low-frequency type of things, and so it's a big job in that patrol division,” he said. “So I'm interested a little bit in dividing some of that workload up, seeing if we can work more along like an operational division concept rather than dividing them up in specialties.”

Colyer said the Police Department's Hands are Tied over Urban Camping

Regarding the issue of urban camping, Colyer said the role of law enforcement is to respond to only legally criminal behavior.

“Our position is really pretty clearly defined,” he said. “The definition is when you go from just somebody camping or sleeping or looking at kind of just sitting on a public right away versus conduct or behavior. If it's conduct or behavior, then that's something that will likely result in a police response. So, obviously, if there's a crime being committed, if somebody assaults or threatens to harm or intimidates anything like that, that would rise to the level of a criminal act, and that is clearly the police department's role.”

Colyer said his officers simply cannot get involved with urban campers unless they break the law.

“If it is just somebody sleeping on the sidewalk, and we get complaints, they are managed within City Hall outside of our department, and they will assess those to determine at what point it becomes such a kind of a problem that rises to the level of encroaching the right of way and the code compliance people will deal with that in addition to and the Parks Department if they're on Parks and Trails, and our only role in those circumstances is Safety and Hazard Mitigation.”

Colyer repeated his emphasis on obtaining new body cameras for his officers, which are under testing and evaluation will help his department move forward and stay current with the most up-to-date technology.

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