Powell Co. residents want to see more officers on streets


DEER LODGE, Mont. - Residents told us they aren't too happy about the recent layoffs in the Powell County Sheriff's Department. "There's not enough officers to patrol both areas," said Deer Lodge resident Brittany Tate. The Sheriff's Department is down to just three officers to patrol an area the size of Delaware. "I think it impacts Deer Lodge because if somebody needs help, there's not many out there to be on time to help them," said Tate. The county laid off deputies when voters rejected a tax levy, leaving the department without enough funding. It's an issue that's been on residents' minds. "We're expecting safety around here, and I think we pay for it and we should get it. It's not good for us not to have enough people on staff to help out," said Deer Lodge resident Ramona Chrisman. Locals said the problem goes further than that, back to two years ago, when the county and city law enforcement split into two departments. "I know that things have been separated here in ways," said Chrisman. "I think the worst thing they did was split it into a police force and a sheriff's department, where it used to be one entity," said Deer Lodge resident Amy Graveley-Tate. That's what has some upset with the departments. "I just think that in a small community it's very important that we work together," said Chrisman. Now, the sheriff's department is working harder than ever and while residents appreciate that, they want to see both agencies come back together and put more officers on the streets.