NewsCrime and Courts


Helena man accused of impersonating an officer

Staats appeared via video in Lewis & Clark County Justice Court
John David Staats
Posted at 10:19 AM, Oct 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-16 12:22:45-04

HELENA — John David Staats of Helena is accused of impersonating an officer, tampering with evidence and obstructing justice.

Staats, 56 years old, appeared via video in Lewis & Clark County Justice Court on Tuesday.

Court documents say police responded to the 3000 block of Villard Avenue at around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday for reports of a gunshot.

Once on scene, officers reportedly found bullet-hole damage to a home.

Investigators allege Staats was showing another person a firearm that he believed was unloaded and told them to pull the trigger when the gun went off.

Staats is then accused of moving the firearm to his vehicle.

One of the complainants that called in the gunshot told police that Staats told them not to call law enforcement because he was with the police, and showed an HPD Volunteer ID.

The Helena Police Department told MTN News that Staats was a volunteer for them at one time, but that program has been inactive for more than a year.

Staats was ordered by the court not to use or possess firearms and regiser with Pre-trial Services.

Staats is charged with three felonies: impersonation of a public servant, tampering with evidence, and obstructing justice.

He is scheduled to enter a plea in District Court on November 6.