The Missoula Police Department has issued its first ever annual report for public review.

KGVO spoke with Chief Jaeson White this week for an overview of the report that he said is transparent and informative.

“It's important for everyone to know that this is the first time that we have made an annual report available to the public and covered hopefully 360 degrees of the police department operations,” said Chief White. “We're doing this in an effort to be transparent with the public that we serve, and to also inform the public about what it is that we do at the Missoula Police Department because you know, there's a lot more stuff going on behind the scenes that a lot of people may not realize that we do.”

One new aspect of investigation the Missoula Police Department involves ‘digital forensics’.

“What that position does is once we get search warrants, it allows us to search electronic devices, computers, laptops, and to download phones, because there's critical evidence involved in each of those devices,” he said. “So instead of shipping it off to the state lab, it allows us to be a lot more efficient by being able to do all that in house.”

Chief White acknowledged that with the increase in methamphetamine trafficking, violent crime has also increased.

“We did see an increase in aggravated assaults and a lot of that, unfortunately, is directly attributable to methamphetamine use,” he said. “So we have a two-fold problem. One; we have the increase in violence and two; we have the increase in illegal drugs. So we have to address that on both fronts, enforcement and treatment.”

Asked about the new initiative being launched by both the city and the county on the elimination of camping in the ‘urban wild’, Chief White explained the two pronged focus of the police department.

“Our role in all of this is primarily education and then enforcement,” he said. “So helping people get to the resources they need is always going to be our first focus, and then enforcing the law that they may be violating will be a last resort for us. We treat this with compassion, and we treat this in a collaborative effort to try to do our piece of that.”

Read the entire Missoula Police Department annual report here.

 

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