We've all heard about the fentanyl crisis here in Montana, but it is not the only drug we have to worry about. Unfortunately, with so much going on in our lives, we may not think about this or may not know as much as we should. That's the motivation for an upcoming forum hosted by Great Falls/Cascade County Crimestoppers.
“What's going on with drugs, what's the activity, and what are maybe the words that you as a parent or teacher or educator might need to be in tune to?” said Shane Etzwiler, vice-president of Great Falls/Cascade County Crimestoppers; he is also the director of the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce.
Etzwiler said the ultimate goal of Crimestoppers is to educate and inform the community.
“As far as what's going on with criminal activity, you know, we've done a lot with the Chamber as far as trying to grow our community. There's a lot of exciting things to come in, but you know what, when people want to move here one of the things they look at is crime stats,” said Etzwiler. "We want to make sure we're keeping our pulse on what's happening in our community."
The forum will feature speakers from several disciplines, including mental health, law enforcement, and education:
- Andrea Savage and Steve Yates – Great Falls Public Schools
- Det. Shawn Baker, County School Resource Officer
- Julie Bass, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor
- DEA Montana Resident Agent in Charge Stacy Zinn
- GFPD Det. Adam Hunt
- Two personal testimonies
Based on past Crimestopper forums, this one could prove to be very beneficial. Etzwiler said, "When we did it in the spring we had the resident DEA agent come on in and she mentioned she was talking to some sixth-graders and they were talking about terms that shocked her. They were, like, how would you know this at that age or that grade?”
Luckily, the area has a great law enforcement presence.
“(The DEA agent) mentioned as far as the communities across Montana we have one of the strongest law enforcement agencies in the state on proactively working to combat violent offenders, trying to take those people off the street,” said Etzwiler.
The forum will be at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 20, at the University of Providence. You can also attend online via the Crimestoppers Facebook page.
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