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Tester Discusses Law Enforcement, Fentanyl

During a conference call with state media, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., stressed the importance of recruiting more law enforcement and of decreasing the use of fentanyl in Montana.

Tester said the Recruit and Retain Act will authorize $3 million to create schools-to-law enforcement programs that allow high schools, universities and tribal colleges to collaborate with law enforcement agencies and help department recruit young talent by holding career fairs and students hands-on opportunities to learn about careers in law enforcement.

“And it will expand COPS grants to support on-boarding costs, such as background checks, psychological evaluations and additional testing for applicants, and assist agencies in hiring by allowing two of grants to cover administrative costs – making it easier for understaffed agencies to apply and utilize federal dollars to hire officers,” Tester noted.

Tester commended law enforcement for their dedication and service.

“Being an officer is a tough job, but every officer I know is proud of the work they do,” Tester said. “We need to make sure that the next generation of Montana leaders knows that and is ready to step into this career.”

During the call, Tester said he is hopeful that a police academy would be added at some point in eastern Montana.

“We don’t have it done yet, but we’re working on it,” the senator said. “An academy in eastern Montana would be a game changer.”

Regarding decreasing fentanyl abuse in the country, Tester said his PREVENT Act ensures that law enforcement officers on the border have the tools and equipment needed to safely handle dangerous drugs like fentanyl. The Securing Borders Against Fentanyl Act invested in screening technologies along the border.

“Drugs like fentanyl are coming in through hidden compartments in vehicles, which is why non-invasive screening technology is so important,” Tester said. “We invested in the hardware for these screenings, now I’m also urging the Biden Administration to invest in the back end technology and software so we can speed up the process and screen more vehicles entering the United States.”

Tester said he is also encouraging funding to provide a psychologist for every school district.

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