In Bozeman, Tester Meets with Law Enforcement to Discuss Public Safety, Border Security, Fentanyl Epidemic

During roundtable discussion, Tester heard directly from law enforcement to better support their needs

As a part of his continued push to strengthen Montana law enforcement and keep communities safe, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today held a roundtable with southwest Montana law enforcement in Bozeman to hear their priorities on public safety funding, law enforcement staffing, combating fentanyl trafficking in Montana, and securing America’s borders.

“Keeping Montanans safe is my top priority, which is why I’m listening directly to law enforcement on the ground about how we can better serve their needs and help protect our communities,” said Tester. “Montana’s police forces play a key role in preventing violent crimes and combatting drug trafficking, and it’s clear they need more manpower and resources. I’ll always stand with Montana’s law enforcement and will keep fighting to ensure they have the resources, manpower, and tools they need to keep Montana families safe.” 

Tester was joined by Bozeman Police Department Chief Jim Veltkamp, Belgrade Police Department Chief Dustin Lensing, Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton, and Sergeant Justin Schnelbach and Captain Eric Paulson of the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Department and Missouri River Drug Task Force.

This week Senator Tester announced his support for the bipartisan Recruit and Retain Act, which will boost hiring and retention efforts for Montana law enforcement in understaffed departments across the state. Tester’s bill would create a schools-to-law enforcement recruitment program, expand funding from COPS Hiring Grants, and improve law enforcement recruitment.

Tester is leading the charge to fight the fentanyl epidemic in Montana, and earlier this month continued his push to secure the southern border and stop fentanyl trafficking by calling on the Biden Administration to make additional investments in technology to assist law enforcement in nonintrusive inspections at points of entry. As the Chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Tester passed critical provisions in the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act and the Fiscal Year 2023 Budget to stop fentanyl trafficking along the southern border.