Governor Greg Gianforte was in Bozeman on Wednesday to host a public safety roundtable with city, county, and community leaders.
Gallatin County’s rapid growth was at the center of the public safety discussion. Law enforcement along with newly elected County Attorney Audrey Cromwell stressed the need for more manpower in their office to keep up with the rising caseloads.
Leaders stressed the resources and funding highlighted as the cost of living has increased in the area leading to services being stretched thin and staff being hard to keep.
Bozeman Police Chief Jim Veltkamp said that they deal with an increase in drug and alcohol-related crimes, while Sheriff Dan Springer added that the area is still seeing an increase in fentanyl trafficking from the southern border.
One area that community leaders agreed on was a need for more treatment and preventative services for minor offenses.
Bozeman Mayor Cyndy Andrus urged for more safety across city streets as community members have been pushing the city for increased safety in recent weeks following the death of a Bozeman High School teacher.
"We're going to continue to see a lot of people from other parts of the country move here. And we're going to have to come to the, somehow come up with systems that are able to manage that growth and keep the community safe. That's everything from how we manage our streets to the resources in the county attorney's office to resources in law enforcement,” says Bozeman City Attorney Greg Sullivan.
The need for mental health services in the valley was brought up by Sheriff Dan Springer who also joined Bozeman Health leaders as they unveiled a new psychiatric care facility opening at Bozeman Health Deaconess Regional Medical Center.
Governor Gianforte said that his administration has grants available in his budget proposal to fund some of the ideas and will take the ideas to push for legislation in the 2023 legislative session.