Missoula City Council approved two motions that would authorize the mayor to sign an agreement with a security company.
In a presentation to Missoula City Council Wednesday, officials described their goal to keep Missoula’s neighborhoods safe while also housing and sheltering at-risk populations during the colder months.
To do both, the city will sign a contract with Rogers International to provide security in the areas surrounding the temporary shelter on Johnson Street and at the Poverello center on West Broadway.
“A security presence we are hoping will decrease the need for law enforcement to respond to those situations and therefore take that harm reduction approach creating a safer environment helping patrol for just the minor nuisance behaviors,” Emily Armstrong Reaching Home Program Director said. “Theft public safety concerns public health concerns. The kind of issues a security guard can handle and law enforcement doesn't need to be called in."
Highlighted in the contract were special training items that security staff would need to receive.
“In the contracts we have built in a very particular training protocol for any staff that are coming onto these sites. That includes mental health, first aid and de-escalation training and native cultural consideration training,” Armstrong said.
Funding for the security teams comes from both county and city sources.
“In August we received funding through the city budget process that was earmarked for operation shelter. In that earmarked amount we included a security allocation. So the city already approved 350,000 dollars in the American Rescue Plan Act funds for security across these operation shelter sites. So this is a plan from months ago that we are really just putting into action,” Armstrong said.
There was also some discussion about the security teams role in cleanup of hazardous materials in the area including used needles.
Rogers International President of operations David Pritchard says his team is trained for that kind of action.
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