An Open Letter To Sheriff T.J. McDermott, County Attorney Kirsten Pabst, And Police Chief Jaeson White

by Travis Mateer

The crisis intervention that is needed in this community is NOT the levy proposed yesterday by elected leaders and other community supporters because the crisis isn’t a funding crisis, it’s a leadership one.

The more conversations I have with people on the frontlines of your deteriorating criminal justice system, the more I’m realizing what an amazing opportunity your collective failure could provide our divided community.

Let’s take the issue of sexual assault as an example.

Once upon a time, about ten years ago, how our criminal justice system handled claims of sexual assault really divided us, as a community. There was even a book about it, and for a short time a glimmer of unity could be seen as literature aficionados and football fans came together to complain about how unfair the attention was from an outsider.

Well, that unity is emerging once again because our common ground is the hunting ground, and it’s everywhere. Let me explain.

Universities, churches, homeless camps and workplaces are all fertile hunting grounds thanks to a criminal justice system that never got its shit together.

Oh, you guys got better at PR and exerting narrative control, that’s for sure, but that’s because you get to hide your failures behind legal shields, like the Confidential Criminal Justice Information statute that keeps all the documentation of your failure hermetically sealed from the public.

The information you allow to trickle out from Public Information Officers and press releases has become so meager, I’m starting to see local media realize if they don’t something about it soon, they’ll die of thirst.

Since jurisdictional finger-pointing is a favorite duck-and-run strategy of yours, right up there with fear-based budget panhandling, my hope is to see you together, like on a panel or something, answering questions from the public.

Until that happens, this open letter will have to do.


Travis Mateer

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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1 Response to An Open Letter To Sheriff T.J. McDermott, County Attorney Kirsten Pabst, And Police Chief Jaeson White

  1. John Kevin Hunt says:

    Well said.

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