Montana officers issue joint statement on police tactics

GRANITE COUNTY - Monday members of law enforcement acrosd the state of Montana banned together to issue the following statement the current situation regarding excessive force by police officers. The release was provided to the Flint Creek Courier by Granite County Sheriff Scott Dunkerson.

Following is that release in it's entirety.

June 29, 2020 Opinion Editorial FR: Montana Peace Officer Leaders RE: Peace Officers in Montana As a nation, state and society we are living in unprecedented times. As peace officer leaders in the State of Montana, we feel it is our obligation to speak about the unnecessary injuries and deaths, suffered by any persons, at the hands of law enforcement officers who fail or refuse to live by our peace officer code of ethics. We collectively acknowledge that incidents of excessive use of force, violence and misconduct are unacceptable and contradictory to our professional training, ethics, and personal morals. In every community of Montana, peace officers work to protect public safety. We are your police officers, sheriff deputies, troopers, corrections officers, game wardens, motor carrier officers, and more. Every day, we put our lives on the line so you can live, work, travel, and recreate safely. In striving to fulfill our oaths and follow our code of ethics, Montana’s peace officers have earned the respect and trust of the citizens we serve. Montana’s peace officers receive top-notch training at the Montana Law Enforcement Academy and in the field. Among other things, we are taught how to de-escalate tense situations, how to uphold citizens’ rights while protecting public safety, how to respect people of all backgrounds and circumstances in the course of our work, and how to use force only as a last resort. We measure the effectiveness of that training by the record of our officers. Our record is strong. Montanans expect the highest standards of conduct from their peace officers. You rightly expect appropriate disciplinary and legal action is taken when an officer is found to have violated the oath, the code of ethics, or the laws governing our state and nation. We are committed to this. As leaders of law enforcement agencies, we strive to be transparent, accessible, and accountable. We continually evaluate policies and practices to ensure they meet the needs of our communities. To that end, we welcome and encourage input from our fellow citizens and our elected officials. Positive, civil, and constructive engagement is the path to genuine community-oriented law enforcement that protects public safety and the rights of all citizens. We are members of the communities we serve. We want to thank the citizens who have shown support for Montana peace officers. We are lucky to live and work in a state that overwhelmingly supports us. As Montanans, let’s continue working together and recommit ourselves to the shared values that make our home the last best place. Montana Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association Montana Association of Chiefs of Police Montana Police Protective Association Association of Montana Troopers Sheriff Tony Harbaugh Custer County Sheriff Don Bell Lake County Sheriff Leo Dutton Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Clay Lammers Garfield County Sheriff Jamie Ross Hill County Sheriff Keith Van Setten Teton County Sheriff Brian Gootkin Gallatin County Sheriff Rick Vaughn Fergus County Sheriff TJ McDermott Missoula County Sheriff Charles “Chip” Kem Stillwater County Sheriff Keifer Lewis Prairie County Sheriff Brian Heino Flathead County Sheriff Heidi Visocan Sheridan County Sheriff Trent Harbaugh Fallon County Sheriff Gavin Roselles Powell County Sheriff Ed Lester Butte-Silver Bow Sheriff Darren Short Lincoln County Sheriff Wynn Meehan Broadwater County Sheriff Tom Rummel Sanders County Sheriff Scott Dunkerson Granite County Sheriff Jon Lopp Meagher County Sheriff Ross Canen Dawson County Sheriff Vern Burdick Chouteau County Sheriff Mike Linder Yellowstone County Sheriff Jason Frederick Roosevelt County Sheriff Brad Bichler Park County Sheriff Tom Boyer

Valley County Chief Tim Barkell Anaconda Deer Lodge Sheriff Paul Craft Beaverhead County Sheriff Donna Whitt Toole County Sheriff Steve Holton Ravalli County Sheriff Josh McQuillan Carbon County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter Cascade County Sheriff Everett Misner Wheatland County Sheriff Jerry Lytle Phillips County Sheriff Craig Doolittle Jefferson County Chief Steve Crawford Bozeman Chief Wade Nash Polson Chief Justin Jenness Lewistown Chief Adam Jacques Fort Benton Chief Dale Johnson Livingston Chief Don Guiberson Dillon Chief Scott Kessel Libby Chief Dave Bowen Great Falls Chief Doug Colombik Miles City Chief Brien Gault Glasgow Chief Gabe Matosich Havre Chief Jaeson White Missoula Chief EJ Clark Belgrade Chief Rich St. John Billings Chief Doug Overman Kalispell Chief Ryan Oster Hamilton Chief Steve Hagen Helena Chief Bill Dove Gallatin Airport Authority Attorney General Tim Fox Montana Colonel Tom Butler Montana Highway Patrol Bryan Lockerby, Administrator Montana Division of Criminal Investigation Glen Stinar, Administrator Montana Law Enforcement Academy Perry Johnson, Executive Director Montana Public Safety Officer Standards and Training Council Duane Williams, Administrator Montana Motor Carrier Services Chief Dave Loewen Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Dan Smith, Executive Director Montana Police Protective Association Nanette Gilbertson, Executive Director Montana Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association

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