At last Tuesday’s Great Falls City Commission meeting we approved the following local folks as appointees to the newly formed Great Falls Crime Task Force:
- Mary Lynne Billy – Indian Family Health Clinic
- Shawna Jarvey – transition consultant, Benefis Health
- Nichole Griffith – Victim Witness Program
- Sandra Guynn – chair of Neighborhood Council of Councils and president of Crime Stoppers
- Sara Sexe – city attorney
- Jeff Newton – Great Falls Police Department chief
- Jesse Slaughter – Cascade County sheriff
- John Parker – District Court judge
- Shane Etzwiler – Chamber of Commerce
I’m excited to get ball rolling on this project. The task force will be starting regular meetings in the next couple of weeks, and of course those meetings will be open to public.
In fact, public input will be essential if we expect this work to produce quality recommendations for more effectively addressing crime issues in Great Falls.
In addition the task force will need to stay focused on two things in my opinion:
- Making it our priority to protect the taxpaying, law-abiding citizens of Great Falls rather than pretending that criminals are actually the victims.
- Thinking about how we can solve problems within the scope of the City of Great Falls’ ability and resources.
If we keep our expectations realistic and understand that the City and this task force can’t and won’t solve the macro problems of homelessness, addiction, and mental illness then I’m optimistic that we can make real progress in doing more to fulfill the City’s main responsibility: to protect law-abiding, taxpaying Great Falls citizens and their property from crime and violence.