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Missoula County Sheriff TJ McDermott, Says Goodbye After 27 Years In Law Enforcement

In a career that has spanned over 27 years and focused on public service, I have
witnessed many changes. I began my career with the Anaconda Police
Department in 1995, joined the Missoula Police Department in 1998, and in 2003
found my ‘work home’ at the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office, where I’m proud to
say that I was elected as Sheriff & Coroner for two consecutive terms starting in
2015. My wife and I are raising a beautiful family in Missoula and truly treasure
being a part of this Community.

As the days tick by and my retirement from law enforcement draws near, I find
myself reflecting on the road that led me to serve as your Sheriff and the work
that we have accomplished. It has been an honor and privilege to serve as your
County Sheriff. The community support of law enforcement and our Sheriff’s
Office is outstanding. I cannot thank the people of Missoula County enough for
their support.

I made a commitment to you when I was elected to provide a Sheriff’s Office that
offers the best possible service to you, has a balanced budget, and creates
forward thinking programming that will help Missoula County thrive. We have
made a lot of progress in my time leading this office and I want to take a minute
to mention a few successes that helped make my commitment to you a reality:
Fiscal Accountability – We consistently operate within our budget and maintain
cash savings for capital improvements and equipment on replacement

Detention Center Management – We have come in under budget managing the
County Detention Center. We implemented creative cost saving techniques such
as installing solar panels on the roof to offset the jail’s high energy costs and
save taxpayer dollars.

Embraced a Culture of Change – I am very proud of our staff who are
committed to interacting with the public in a manner that demonstrates dignity
and respect for all involved. When the global pandemic hit, we stood up and
implemented the processes and procedures necessary to make everyone under
our care as safe as possible.

Program Enhancements – Re-established our Canine and School Resource
Officer programs. Our brave men and women prioritized safety by
ensuring deputies have all necessary safety equipment with a strong
maintenance budget. Created a third resident Deputy position in the Seeley Lake
area. Established a Crime Victim Advocate position within our detective division

to provide support to victims. Overall, we added 13 deputies and 6 detention
officers to our team to allow us to fully staff task forces.

Implementation of the Jail Diversion Master Plan – Led an effort in 2015 to
bring the Jail Diversion Master Plan forward to identify nonviolent offenders and
consider alternative solutions such as home arrest, sobriety programs and the
Crisis Intervention Team (CIT).

This is not a comprehensive list, but some of the more notable accomplishments
that have shown positive impacts within our community. The office is well
positioned for new leadership and I can assure you that your incoming Sheriff
has been integrally involved in many of the successes listed above.

As a county, we have seen an increase in violent crime, thefts, an influx of drugs,
drug-related crimes, and partner/family member assaults. These offenses
threaten the quality of life we enjoy and love in our communities and state.
The nature and the populace partaking in these unlawful acts have also
increased the challenges for our deputies as they respond to protect and serve.

There will continue to be challenges and it is paramount that Missoula County
continues to actively support your new Sheriff and the brave men and women
who consistently meet the trials of this very challenging and sometimes
dangerous job as they continue in their commitment to provide high-level
professional service.
We strive to safeguard the lives and property of those that have chosen to call
Missoula County home and treat everyone with dignity and respect.

This commitment will continue with your newly elected Sheriff. I encourage each
of you to support his tenure as Sheriff as you did for me during my time. As we
face these challenges together, we can maintain the quality of life we love in the
place we call home.
TJ McDermott

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