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Police get kudos from council, public for service

by CHRIS PETERSON
Editor | March 27, 2024 2:00 AM

The Columbia Falls Police Department got some thank-yous at last week’s city council meeting.

Councilman John Piper, who also works as a supervisor at the Montana Veterans Home, thanked Police Chief Clint Peters for the way the department handled a resident that had left the home and had an alcohol issue. Police were able to get the resident back to the home without incident.

Separately, resident Shirley Folkwein said she narrowly missed colliding with a pickup truck on the Highway 2 bridge across the Flathead River. The truck took out a big section of guardrail on the bridge. She said police were there almost immediately.

Peters said one of the patrolmen actually had video of the crash from his patrol car as he was in the area at the same time as the crash.

Peters said police have been busy as of late. They’ve responded to a rash of “break-ins” to vehicles — but the vehicles were unlocked. So far, five firearms had been stolen.

One arrest has been made, but the gun was not recovered, Peters noted. He implored folks to lock their rigs.

In another law enforcement matter, Mayor Don Barnhart brought up people doing open burning in the city limits, which is illegal. Police will respond if someone complains, Peters noted. Since the warm weather, overall DUIs and cell phone violations are up and police are averaging 20 traffic stops a day with just two on patrol most of the time.

“Super proud of their effort,” Peters said.