KGVO: Over $1 Billion In Funding Will Come to Montana Law Enforcement

by Steve Fullerton

The recently passed “Omnibus” funding package from the U.S. Congress is bringing in over $1 billion to Montana law enforcement programs, according to Senator Jon Tester.

He said that more money is being provided to several programs – from Community Oriented Policing (COPS) programs to High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Programs (HIDTA). A bump of over $512 million will increase total funding by $126 million for several COPS programs – hiring, an anti-meth task force, tribal law, regional information sharing and bullet proof vests. Even cybercrime investigations will see some funding of about $50 million.

The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task forces will get a $7 million increase for a $297 million total budget, which is important due to the amount of drugs coming through the state on interstate highways. Operation Stonegarden will help border security operations at a local and state level, too.

Other agencies are included in fund increases
Other first responders were included in the omnibus package, including $720 million for FEMA fire fighter grant programs and the 911 systems will be moving into the Next Generation 911 systems with a $47 million boost. Also, state and local forensics will get $15 million.

The legislation passed the Senate by a 68-51 vote and was part of the annual federal government funding. Tester said in a news release, “Increasing funding for these agencies was a no-brainer, and will help our brave officers better serve Montanans day in and day out.”

Sheriff Leo Dutton of Lewis and Clark County welcomed the funds, saying they help “keep communities safe, get dangerous drugs off our streets, and ensure that police officers can quickly and safely be there when needed.”