Great Falls In Top 3 MT Cities For Fentanyl Trafficking According To U.S. Attorney

From KTVQ in Billings last week:

“Billings, Helena and Great Falls are top hotspots for drug trafficking of fentanyl, while Missoula falls in fourth, U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana Jesse Laslovich said Monday at a public forum.”
U.S. Attorney: Billings, Helena, Great Falls top cities for fentanyl (

Great Falls appears to be the hub for drug trafficking on area Indian reservations, “…Great Falls traffickers are going to Blackfeet, Fort Belknap, and Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservations, Laslovich said.”

In addition, according to the New York Times:

“Nearly 110,000 people died last year of drug overdoses in the United States, according to preliminary federal data published on Wednesday, a staggering figure that nonetheless represented a plateau after two years of sharp increases.

The preliminary count of 109,680 overdose deaths was only slightly higher than the figure for 2021, when 109,179 people were estimated to have died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overdose deaths had climbed significantly that year and the prior year, increasing by roughly 17 percent in 2021 and 30 percent in 2020.”

Good News And Bad News, Great Falls: Building Permits Up, Crime Up

Well, Great Falls friends and neighbors, there’s some good news and there’s some bad news.

Good News First

According to a recent analysis by the City of Great Falls Planning and Community Development Department new construction and building permits are not just on an upward trend over the past year, they’re up by a lot.

Take a look at this chart:

Now, The Bad News

Unfortunately, we also have some troubling stats related to rising crime in our town.

As you can see from this slide we have some crime issues that aren’t magically going away and that we need to deal with – a 28% increase in general case investigations!


So let’s build on the good news and do something more than complain about the bad news, Great Falls.

‘Troubling’ Tweets From Great Falls Dem Candidate

Back in the summer of 2020 the ‘Defund The Police’ movement had reached a crescendo and was spreading, even becoming a popular rallying cry for the ‘progressive’ left here in Great Falls.

There were local protests and calls for defunding our own Great Falls Police Department as well as accusations of racism against local law enforcement.

Here is an excerpt from an email form letter sent to the Great Falls City Commission in June 2020. I received over a dozen of these emails that month, from both local and out-of-town senders:

…I am demanding that real change be made to the way this city allocates its resources.

Support for communities in need is necessary now, more than ever. I am demanding that the City Commission meaningfully defund the Great Falls Police Department. I join the calls of those across the country to defund the police. I am demanding a budget that adequately and effectively meets the needs of at-risk Great Falls residents during this trying and uncertain time. I am demanding a budget that supports community wellbeing, rather than empowering the police forces that tear them apart.

At the time it was obvious to anyone watching events unfold locally that several Great Falls Democrat candidates for the legislature were helping in organizing and supporting the protests and were driving some of the ‘Defund’ and related narrative.

Helena Lovick, now Vice Chair of the Cascade County Democratic Central Committee, and far left activist and CCDCC precinct captain Jasmine Taylor were among the most vocal.

That was then, this is now, and the hot rhetoric of the time has cooled in the face of the reality that public safety demands full funding for our local criminal justice system and law enforcement. What was hip and trendy for many at the time, ‘Defunding The Police’, is now seen as absurd and dangerous by citizens concerned about the safety of their families and neighborhoods.

And now that we are currently in the midst of a campaign for state legislature I have a serious question for local candidates: Exactly where do you stand on the issue of public safety and on funding and supporting our law enforcement folks?

That question goes to all of our local legislative candidates regardless of political party, but due to her past statements on the issue it’s important that one of them in particular clarify her position.

Democrat Melissa Smith, the losing candidate for HD20 in 2020, now running in HD23, and Secretary for the Cascade County Democratic Central Committee, has posted some troubling tweets concerning local law enforcement and public safety. Here are a few examples.

So, as a Great Falls City Commissioner and citizen who takes the issue of public safety very, very seriously and considers it the most important priority for government at all levels, I sincerely hope that Smith will clarify her positions on and attitudes towards law enforcement as she goes around town campaigning for public office.

I’m not under any illusions that she, or any other politician who may have said one thing then and another now, will respond to the question (though they should), but I am encouraging Great Falls voters to ask candidates what they said and thought about ‘Defund The Police’ back when it was a fad.

Ask them directly when you encounter them at your door, campaign events, or anywhere else.

Or you can email them. Here is Smith’s email address –

All local candidates emails can be found here.

If candidate Smith’s past statements aren’t an accurate reflection of her thinking or an indication of how she would help shape and fund public safety policy if she were elected to state office then voters need to know that. It’s perfectly acceptable to honestly change ones views over time.

But it is wrong for candidates to avoid the issue and hide their actual beliefs right before an election because they think their true position will cost them votes.

Local Crimestoppers Hosts “Staying Safe In Great Falls” Event

Editor’s note: A public service announcement from Great Falls/Cascade County Crimestoppers.

What: Crime and the Law – Staying SAFE in Great Falls

When: Thursday, March 31, 2022 at 6:30 PM

Where: University of Providence, Great Falls

Join Crimestoppers on Thursday, March 31, 2022 for a Community Crime program featuring local and regional experts talking about how the law affects what they can and cannot do. FREE to attend.

Panelists include:
* Municipal Court Judge Steve Bolstad
* Police Chief Jeff Newton
* Cascade County Attorney Josh Racki
* Pre-Release Director Alan Scanlon
* Sheriff Jesse Slaughter
* DEA Montana Resident Agent in Charge Stacy Zinn

After we have heard from the panelists, the audience will have the opportunity to ask questions.

Tryon: What’s The Mission Of Local Police And Justice System?

The responsibility of government isn’t to solve all of our problems but rather to ensure our safety in the free exercise of our individual God-given, natural rights.

Now think about that in light of our local crime problem.

The primary job of Great Falls law-enforcement and our local criminal justice system is to protect and serve the law abiding citizenry and to help ensure that we are safe in our persons and in our property, NOT to ‘help’ criminals or to solve all of the problems of addiction, mental health, poverty and homelessness.

We seem to have lost sight of that to some degree here in Great Falls and we need to refocus.

Our local law-enforcement and criminal justice folks work their tails off to serve this community and do the right thing.

Unfortunately, too many citizens are becoming frustrated and losing faith in local LE because of rampant crime in Great Falls.

We have to change that. Together.

Over the past several weeks I’ve been meeting with law-enforcement personnel at several levels, including Federal, to discuss appropriate membership and work scope for a proposed Great Falls Crime Task Force.

Last week I met with the three Division Captains from the Great Falls Police Department, Chief Bowen, and a couple of folks on the front line fighting serious crime and drug issues in our hometown.

And I can tell you that those who say that our crime problems in Great Falls aren’t that big of a deal because “it happens everywhere” are dead wrong. We have serious and unique challenges here and I think anyone who is paying attention understands that.

“It happens everywhere” is nothing more than a lame excuse which leads to doing nothing. We don’t live “everywhere” – we live in Great Falls/Cascade County.

Everyone I talk to, including local LE, says they’re sick and tired of doing nothing but talking around the issue of crime in Great Falls.

It’s time to get something done. And that starts with an honest community conversation and a focused effort designed to produce specific and targeted action.

We need to know what the solutions are, how much they cost, and their effectiveness in protecting the law abiding folks and their property in this community.

Over the next couple of weeks I will be meeting with community groups and with local justice system professionals to continue the prep work for the task force. It is my goal to have the task force in place by April to begin the process of producing a set of actionable recommendations to be presented to the community by late summer, early fall.