Tester Meets with Flathead Law Enforcement Officers to Highlight Critical Security Resources

Senator: Defending Montanans and Keeping Families Safe is a Top Priority

(Kalispell, Mont.)-U.S. Senator Jon Tester today met with law enforcement officers in Kalispell to highlight the additional funding he secured to help secure our streets, our airports, and our borders.

Tester used his position as the Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee to author and include these resources in last month’s bipartisan government funding bill. Tester’s fight to secure this funding was the direct result of input from Flathead Valley law enforcement officers, who utilize these critical security initiatives.

“Defending Montanans and keeping families safe is a top priority,” Tester said. “It is critically important that our law enforcement officers have the resources they need to secure our borders and intercept illegal drugs. I will keep taking my cues from the police officers and sheriff’s departments that work hard every day to keep our communities safe and secure.”

Tester’s funding increase will facilitate the hiring of 328 new Customs and Border Protection officers, deploy more law enforcement and screening equipment to Montana airports, and help law local law enforcement intercept drugs coming across the borders.

Law enforcement officers from the Kalispell Police Department, Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Customs and Border Protections (CBP), Transportation Safety Administration (TSA), and Blackfeet Police Department joined Tester for his roundtable discussion.

Tester secured additional resources for the following public safety initiatives, all of which are regularly utilized by local law enforcement in the Flathead Valley:

Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) Reimbursement Program
The LEO Reimbursement Program helps deploy officers to secure local airports and fund TSA screening equipment. Montana airports received $500,000 through the LEO Reimbursement Program in 2017. Tester secured $45 million for the LEO Reimbursement Program for airports across the country in the government funding bill last month.

Operation Stonegarden Grants
Operation Stonegarden Grants provide resources to local, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies to defend the borders, intercept illegal drugs, and keep communities safe. The Kalispell and Blackfeet Police Departments received over $100,000 in Stonegarden Grants in 2017. Tester secured $85 million for Stonegarden Grants in the government funding bill last month, a $30 million increase from last year.

Border Security
Tester secured $14 billion for the CBP in the government funding bill, a $1.8 billion increase from last year. Tester also secured funding to hire 328 new CBP officers and to better detect meth and opioid coming into the U.S. through ports of entry.

Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program
The Byrne JAG Program is the leading source of federal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions. The grants fund additional personnel, equipment, supplies, contractual support, training, technical assistance, and information systems. Tester secured $415 million for Byrne JAG grants in the government funding bill. In 2017, Montana law enforcement received approximately $900,000 in Byrne JAG funding.

  • Flathead County received $31,850.
  • Blackfeet Tribe received $18,244.
  • In total, 16 local jurisdictions in Montana received Byrne JAG funding.

Tester also introduced the ANTI Drugs Act in Billings last week, which will reauthorize and increase funding for three critical grant initiatives that have a proven track record of helping Montana law enforcement.

More information about these public safety initiatives is available HERE.