The Great Falls Crime Task Force has been meeting on a bi-weekly basis since the first week in June and so far the meetings have been mostly informational presentations giving members, and the public, a solid foundational understanding of the scope and issues involved related to local crime and the local criminal justice system.
The Task Force will begin drafting it’s recommendations at it’s August 9 meeting.
In April, the Great Falls City Commission passed Resolution 10395, which sets a timeline for “…having draft recommendations available for public review and comment no later than August 2021, and a final recommendation to present to the City Commission no later than September 2021.”
Although the recommendations put forward by the task force are an important first step, the process will include several phases, including public vetting of the set of recommendations and public hearings and comment period for specific recommendations as they come before the City Commission for deliberation and votes.
All task force meetings have been and will continue to be open to public attendance, comment and input both in-person and written. You can find meeting time and place details on the City’s website here.
As we begin drafting recommendations I thinks it’s important to continue encouraging and soliciting public input, because the best ideas and solutions usually bubble up rather than trickle down.
With that in mind, I would like to provide a framework for the kinds of recommendations that will be most useful and effective going forward.
Resolution 10395 calls for “…specifics and actionable recommendations that are within the scope, authority, and financial ability of the City Commission, City Manager, and general public.”
So any recommendation must contain a specific action which can be undertaken by one or more of these entities. Here I’m including examples of the kind of actions these entities normally undertake.
Great Falls City Commission
- Passing city ordinances and resolutions
- Fiscal year budget decisions and recommendations for the City
- Initiatives, declarations and setting yearly priorities and general direction
- Establishing advisory boards and appointing members
- Approving municipal ballot levies
City Manager/Administration and Departments
- Department policies and priorities, GFPD, Legal etc
- Personnel decisions
- Budget recommendations
- Facilitating communication and collaboration with other jurisdictions, County, State etc
- Business, NPO and private individual safety and crime prevention measures
So, if these are the target entities for recommendations, what are some categories to consider that would provide a general direction for the substance of the recommendation?
The most effective recommendation would address and articulate a specific problem or issue related to local crime and the local criminal justice system (law enforcement, corrections, courts) and would seek to mitigate that problem and explain how it would do so.
Here are some ideas that suggest the broader categories from which “actionable recommendations” would flow (certainly not comprehensive, but a start):
- Budget priorities and resource allocation
- Public communication and education
- Collaboration and partnerships with other government jurisdictions and private entities
- City Code and resolutions
- City Department policies and priorities
Directing the specific, actionable recommendations to the target entities will really help to focus the effort and clarify how to proceed after the Task Force submits it’s final work.
Please feel free to contact me or the Great Falls Crime Task Force at any time with your input and suggestions.