Don’t Mistake What’s Going On Here: The City Is In Damage Control Over The Private Security Policing Of Homeless People

by Travis Mateer

Let’s begin with the glaring falsehood that jumped out at me in this Missoulian-enabled damage control piece giving voice to Emily Armstrong, the current cheerleader for the city’s 10 year plan to end homelessness, which, wouldn’t you know, is up this year.

The glaring falsehood is based on my direct knowledge of whether or not one of the schools near the Poverello Center was ACTUALLY requesting extra security from the city. Here’s the quote (emphasis mine) from the Missoulian article:

City council member Kristen Jordan wanted to know why the private security staff are patrolling neighborhoods around the shelters rather than just the shelter sites. She also wanted to know why the city didn’t just hire more city police officers to do the job that Rogers is doing.

Armstrong said that the reason why they patrol neighborhoods was because the city got lots of requests from neighbors around the shelters. She noted that schools near the shelters have asked for security to just patrol the area as well.

That bold part really smacked me in the face. Why, you ask? Because, just two months ago, I spoke with Barbara Frank, the principal of Lowell school, and she had NO IDEA a private security firm was doing armed patrols in the West Side neighborhood.

And, to be a helper, I even sent Emily Armstrong an email on January 3rd, 2022, at 9:02pm, which reads in full:

Snarky? Yes.

Evidence that as of January 3rd, 2022, Barbara Frank was NOT actively begging the city of Missoula to contract private mercs to roll down alley ways in her schools’ neighborhood? ALSO yes, unless Barbara remembers a different conversation than the one I had with her about my concerns regarding this private security firm and the contract our city…sought? No, that’s not the right word. Bid? Yeah, I think that’s it.

Anyways, there’s lots more fun in that article, but it’s late, so I’m going to leave it there for now. I will note that Emily Armstrong referenced a “six-month review” of the city’s contract is coming up “soon”.

Sounds like fun. Can I RSVP?

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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