MISSOULA, Mont. — In August, the city of Missoula will look at renewing its contract with Rogers International to patrol and provide security around the Poverello Center, Johnson Street shelter, and authorized campsite.
City Council received a presentation Wednesday on how the first contract is working out and areas that can be improved with the next contract.
Rogers began providing security about 10 months ago, and in that time there have been four use-of-force instances with tasers.
None of the incidents resulted in criminal charges against Rogers International.
In the area around the Poverello Center, MPD received 12% fewer calls for service since Rogers began providing security.
The Johnson Street shelter area saw the biggest impact, with a 30% decrease in calls for service.
A poll of staff members at those sites shows support for the added security.
“Keeping the peace on-site and keeping the peace in our neighborhood, it’s been extremely helpful that we are not having to call on law enforcement all the time,” Hope Rescue Mission director of outreach April Seat said. “Like an example, we had one guy who just had a mental health crisis, and instead of calling law enforcement, they were working with the mobile support team to call them.”
A community survey of the surrounding areas produced mixed feelings on the level of security created by Rogers, but a survey among the homeless population shows feelings of a higher level of security with Rogers International's presence in the area.
Some City Council members disagree with having armed security guards patrol these areas and would like to see changes going forward.