Missoula County Commissioners Dave Strohmeier and Josh Slotnik on Wednesday approved funding for two new sheriff’s deputies that will have specific duties, according to Missoula County Sheriff T.J. McDermott.

“These two positions will allow us to have both a school resource program and then during the summer months, these deputies will be assigned to patrol popular recreation areas in the summer where we’ve been experiencing large crowds of people and where a law enforcement presence,” said McDermott. “We know that school shootings are happening all over the United States. I’m proud of the work that our sheriff’s office has done with providing active resistance training to school officials and staff, but the missing piece is having a school resource deputy on scene in the event that something should happen just having a law enforcement asset on scene would be advantageous should that ever happen.”

The schools in Missoula County to be covered by the two deputies include 10 elementary schools, eight middle schools and two High Schools.

McDermott said when school is out during the summer these two deputies will focus their efforts on providing a law enforcement presence at popular recreation areas in western Montana.

“Some of the sites, particularly the bridges such as Kona Bridge, MacClay Bridge, Tamarack State Park and the entire Blackfoot and Highway 200 corridor, those are very popular recreation sites in the summer,” he said. “Considering some of the activity we’ve had at some of these sites, we’ll have the ability to respond and appropriately handle it.”

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