Tester Delivers Big Border Security Win for 14 Montana Communities

Senator Secures $1.5 Million to Combat Drug Trafficking, Secure Montana's Borders

(Big Sandy, Mont.) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester is delivering on his promise to secure the border, combat drug trafficking and strengthen local law enforcement in Montana.

Tester, as Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, secured Operation Stonegarden grants worth over $1.5 million to communities across Montana.

Tester used his leadership position to increase Stonegarden funding by 55 percent. These grants are issued to local governments and federally-recognized tribal governments to defend the country’s borders from terrorism, intercept illegal drugs, and combat human trafficking.

“Nothing is more important than keeping our borders secure and our communities safe,” Tester said. “These resources will boost local law enforcement’s ability to stop dangerous drugs from coming through our ports and ensure there are no weak links along our border.”

Montana law enforcement agencies use Operation Stonegarden grants to increase preparedness, coordination, and effectiveness along the state’s 545-mile northern border.

Last year Montana communities received $1,058,250 in Stonegarden grants. This year thanks to Tester’s language in the government funding agreement, there has been a dramatic increase in Montana grants.

“We are excited for this funding to continue our mission of supplementing the security of the Northern Border. Having extra eyes and ears on the ground is essential to our National Security,” said Hill County Sheriff Jamie Ross. “We thank Senator Tester for all the work he’s done to ensure we receive these funds.”

“The Kalispell Police Department was awarded funds through the Operation Stonegarden Grant Program again this year. These funds are used to assist with the continued collaboration with the United States Border Patrol to provide border security,” said Kalispell Police Captain Tim Falkner. “The benefit of this grant is twofold. Our community benefits by having additional officers on the streets to deter criminal activity and promote public safety. The department benefits by having additional funds to supplement the cost of officers who work these overtime shifts. Officers who have worked these shifts in the past have made numerous arrests for felony drug possession and they have taken many individuals with warrants off the streets.”

Fourteen Montana communities will receive Operation Stonegarden funding this year, including two *counties that did not receive these funds in FY2017:
• Blackfeet Nation: $197,145
• Blaine County: $70,000
• Glacier County: $100,000
• Hill County: $88,224
• Roosevelt County: $82,533
• Phillips County: $90,467
• Sheridan County: $138,520
• Toole County: $110,000
• Dawson County: $78,362
• Valley County: $150,000
• Flathead County/Kalispell: $200,000
• Lincoln County: $150,000
• Lake County: $100,000*
• Mineral County: $100,000*