Missoulian: Missoula law enforcement gets annual federal grant

by Zoe Buchli

The Missoula Police Department received a chunk of money last week from a federal Department of Justice grant, the bulk of which will go to administrative programs and SWAT night vision equipment.

The award of $62,922 came through the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG). Missoula Police Chief Jaeson White presented to the Missoula City Council on Monday evening about what the money will buy.

This includes $17,550 for the second year of the department’s online warrant program used in conjunction with Missoula’s municipal and district courts, White explained. It allows warrants to be processed electronically.

A second year of the department’s subscription to online training and records will also be expensed.

“That was something we implemented a year ago that consolidated all of our training records from three historic systems into one,” White said. “(It) allows us to provide current, modern, updated training to our officers every day in briefing through this national service.”

The remaining $23,548 will be for night vision systems for the department’s SWAT team.

Missoula police chief Jaeson White talks about a federal grant during a city council meeting on Sept. 26.

A portion of the money, will be shared with the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office: $13,751 will go to the county to help offset the property clerk’s salary.

The city council voted unanimously to authorize Mayor Jordan Hess to sign the grant memorandum.

Money from the Justice Assistance Grant isn’t new to the department, White said. His department has received this funding every year since 1993 from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Since White joined Missoula police in 2020, he said the grant amount hasn’t fluctuated much.

The award for eight county and city law enforcement agencies across Montana totaled $361,144. The Billings Police Department received the largest amount of funding at $123,669, and Missoula’s portion was second to that. Flathead County received $27,410.

Grant money aims to prevent crime. It can be used for state and local initiatives, technical assistance, training, personnel, equipment and supplies, contractual support and information systems for criminal justice or civil proceedings, the press release stated.

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester lauded local law enforcement and the need for funding. 

“Montana’s law enforcement always answers the call to keep our communities safe, and it’s critical that they have the training and equipment necessary to keep our state the Last Best Place,” Tester stated in the release. 

Missoula law enforcement gets annual federal grant (missoulian.com)