The Whitehall Ledger - Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

By Jack H. Smith
Ledger Publisher 

Residents address concerns at town meeting last week


August 30, 2017

Local law enforcement, residents, as well as town and county officials came together last Wednesday night at a special town meeting in Whitehall.

A majority of the meeting was a public forum to allow residents to express their concerns and ask questions to law enforcement, including Jefferson County Sheriff Craig Doolittle. Many in the audience spoke about problems associated with meth use.

Curtis Smith said that while living in Arkansas and now Whitehall, he has seen a lot of meth problems and if they can get rid of the drug, they could get rid of three-quarters of the current crime.

Doolittle agreed with the big meth problem, and said those who are addicted are ripping off everyone around them, including family members.

Doolittle stressed the importance of residents talking to neighbors and letting them know if they are having any problems. He said while the County has never had 24- hour coverage since he started working for them in 1989, if someone is having issues they would jockey their scheduled around to help them.

“If there are problems, call us,” he said.

Scott Mercer also spoke at the meeting, and said he could see five individuals in the room who have been robbed.

Mercer said he knows that the police are doing what they can, but expresesed concern over what happens to the individuals once they are caught.

“This is such a small town that crime shouldn’t be to the level that it is,” he said.

Jefferson County Attorney Steve Haddon said that unfortunately not only their office, but courts are also bound by sentencing policies.

Montina Rawson of Whitehall said that everyone agrees there is a drug problem, and suggested putting pressure on landlords that are renting to known drug users. Rawson also suggested forming a community watch group, something she would be willing to facilitate.

Rawson said we need to pull together as a town and the watch would be an idea rather than just pointing fingers.

Doolittle said he has a deputy trained to assist with a watch group and the department would be more than happy to help train and set up the group.

“We can’t do it, but we can help you set it up,” Doolittle said.

Kevin Burnet of Whitehall said one thing everyone can agree on is that this is a great community, addding local law enforcement is doing a great job.

Doolittle also reminded those in attendance that if they are going out of town, they can contact the department and they will check on their property.


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