[caption id="attachment_1049" align="alignright" width="200"] Paul Greenwood[/caption]
Two things have happened in the past two weeks in Yellowstone County that reinforce my attitude that Crime Prevention IS alive and well in Yellowstone County. They were in the form of two meetings that should have a true impact on crime in Yellowstone County as well as throughout the state.
The first is a newly formed coalition called the Fast Team. It was brought together by the Montana State Auditor's Office and includes all the state agencies that deal with elder abuse and fraud (i.e. the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General's Office, the Office of the Commissioner of Banking, the state Auditor's Office, and the Medicaid Fraud Unit). In addition the County Attorney, the U S Attorney, the Billings Police, the FBI, AARP, Big Sky Senior Services, and the Adult Resource Alliance of Yellowstone County were invited. A speaker for the meeting was Paul Greenwood, a retired Deputy District Attorney from San Diego who worked nothing but elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation cases for 22 years. The purpose of this coalition is to connect the efforts in Yellowstone County (first) and then the efforts of an expanding part of the rest of the state. By doing this and connecting these outreach efforts it not only broadens the reach of the prevention programs, but allows the enforcement programs to work closer together and occasionally come together to look at the more difficult cases to do a more efficient investigation. It's always been my thought that working together we can solve and prevent crime. I also always felt that a great prevention program would never work without a great enforcement effort working at the same time.
The second meeting that I attended was the Substance Abuse Connect meeting held Tuesday and Wednesday at the First Interstate Bank Office in East Billings. Once again a huge group of people came together that are trying to reduce the impact of drugs in the Yellowstone County Area. This is again a large group that encompasses everyone from the U S Attorney to the outreach to the homeless community in Billings. Much of what has been done so far includes creating the organization which is over a hundred strong at this point. But to do research entitled "Substance Use in Yellowstone County: A community-Level Needs Assessment' and going over the relationship between drug abuse and violent crime in Yellowstone County. Some staggering figures came out, but one thing that is really important to learn is the relationship between family and individual trauma and drug abuse. We've always focused our efforts on the fact that drug abuse is a conscious choice on the part of the abuser, however the ACES study by the Centers for Disease Control and independent research by many in the field show that drug abuse is the result of trauma.
These two organizations once again get us back to Community Oriented Policing on steroids. Let's keep watching to see what an impact they have on two nationwide crime problems that are ruining peoples lives every day in Yellowstone County and the rest of Montana.
Alex E. Ward, CPP
Board Certified in Security Management (American Society for Industrial Security)
MCPA in conjunction with the Yellowstone County DUI Task Force and Q2 produced these DUI PSA's. They paint a sad picture of DUI in Montana and have been viewed on television as well as on you tube. This is one way we can educate folks as to things they need to know about crime.