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As Americans across the country reevaluate spending on policing it’s time for Bozeman/Gallatin County to do the same. Here are two ways to save millions, which could then be redirected to services such as domestic abuse, homelessness, mental health and childhood hunger.

First, immediately put the brakes on construction of the city’s new multi-million dollar safety center. It’s way past time for the city and county to put their differences aside and begin working for the fiscal benefit of the citizens. It’s not too late to redesign a project to accommodate both the city and county services. Even if they were to share only the utilities, the parking lot and the bathrooms they’d save money and certainly they can do much better than that!

Secondly, in a county with a population of only about 100,00 why do we still have so many individual police forces with all the administrative overhead that entails? With the benefit of modern transportation and communication it’s time to combine the county sheriff’s office with the city police forces in Bozeman, Belgrade, Three Forks, West Yellowstone, etc. into one policing organization. This could save millions annually.

It’s time for citizens to speak up and demand that our civic leaders start working together, especially Bozeman and the county. There’s no reason to have two policing organizations with two separate multi-million dollar buildings in this tiny jurisdiction.

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Tom Proudfoot