Montana

What to do here

Click a "Get Template" button to get an email template about a specific issue. Edit the template to connect on a more personal level with your lawmaker. See the Contacting Logistics page for information about how to write an effective email to your lawmakers. Get your lawmakers' emails with the search box to the right. Send the email!

Be sure to check out the Next Steps at the bottom of the page. Go to the References/Further Reading page to see our sources and do some research of your own.

Last updated Jan. 20, 2020

Summary

Key:

Legislation Achieved

Some Progress

No Progress

  • Demilitarization

    Yes
    Yes
    Yes
    Yes

    No knock warrants
    1033 program
    Military-style training
    SWAT data

    Montana a

  • For Profit Policing

    Yes
    Yes
    Yes
    Yes

    Civil asset forfeiture
    Quotas
    Cost of misconduct

    Montana b

  • Broken Windows Policing

    Minor offenses
    Objective justification for stops
    Reporting stop details

    Montana c

  • Accountability

    Yes
    Yes
    Yes
    Yes

    Reckless civil rights violation
    Independent investigation
    Qualified immunity

    Montana d

  • Reinvesting in Communities

    Mental health response

    Education, housing, and community health resources

    Montana e

Demilitarization

Learn about demilitarization and the specific issues below on the Demilitarization page (opens in a new window).

 

No knock warrants

No Progress:

Montana has not yet enacted a law eliminating the use of no-knock warrants.

1033 purchases

Some Progress;

In 2015, the Montana legislature passed House Bill 330 that prohibits state and local law enforcement from receiving weaponized drones, grenades, etc from a federal militarized surplus by blocking the Federal 1033 program that allocates funds to state and local governments so that they can buy such weapons. However, this law only prohibits the use of federal grants to purchase equipment. State and local funds can still be used.

Military style training

No Progress:

Montana has not yet enacted a law refocusing training away from self-defense responses and towards community centered training like that offered by Blue Courage. Locally, Missoula departments began training officers using the Blue Courage curriculum in 2020.

SWAT data

No Progress:

Montana has not yet enacted a law requiring the recording and cataloging of SWAT team use.

For Profit Policing

Learn about for profit policing and the specific issues below on the For Profit Policing page (opens in a new window).

 

Civil asset forfeiture

No Progress:

Montana has not yet enacted a law ending civil asset forfeiture. Law enforcement departments may keep up to 100% of the forfeiture gains

Quotas

No Progress:

Montana has not yet enacted a law ending quotas for low-level arrests.

Cost of misconduct

No Progress:

Montana has not yet enacted a law requiring police departments (not state general funds) to cover the cost of misconduct.

Broken Windows Policing

Learn about broken windows policing and the specific issues below on the Broken Windows Policing page (opens in a new window).

 

Minor offenses

Some Progress:

Through Ballot Initiative 118 in the Nov 2020 election, Montana legalized marijuana for adults age 21 and older. The Initiative also created a process allowing those serving sentences for marijuana-related offenses to apply for resentencing or expungement. However, many other non-violent offenses remain criminalized.

Objective justification for stops

No Progress:

Montana has not yet enacted a law requiring officers to establish objective justification for making a stop (i.e. not simply for furtive movement, suspicious activity, or matching a generalized description).

Reporting stop details

Some Progress:

Montana has a use of force data collection portal, but reporting is not mandatory.

Accountability

Learn about accountability and the specific issues below on the Accountability page (opens in a new window).

 

Reckless civil rights violation

No Progress:

Montana has not yet enacted a law lowering the prosecution requirement from ‘willful’ to ‘reckless’ deprivation of another’s rights.

Independent investigation

Some Progress:

The Montana Investigations Bureau investigates a broad range of criminal activities, including police misconduct. However, the Bureau only intervenes at the request of local agencies.

Qualified immunity

No Progress:

Montana has not yet enacted a law ending qualified immunity.

Reinvesting in Communities

Learn about reinvesting in communities and the specific issues below on the Reinvesting in Communities page (opens in a new window).

 

Mental health response

No Progress:

Montana has not yet enacted a law creating and funding a mental health task force available to respond to crisis calls (in lieu of police). Locally, some counties are moving to create co-responder programs. Gallatin County was the first in Montana to try this approach back in July 2019. Flathead County has also procured a 12-month grant to pilot a similar program.

Education, Housing, Community Health Resources

No Progress:

It is important to note that policing does not address the roots of social disadvantage and barriers to (economic) opportunity that often lead to crime. Nor should police be burdened with that responsibility.
Without access to quality resources in healthcare, education, and housing, our cities, neighborhoods, and families will continue to suffer. We should instead reassess the budgets of the state government and reinvest in the services that matter most.

Next Steps

No matter what, register to vote:

Contacting officials is just one piece of the puzzle we can't stop there. We need to make sure our elected officials reflect our values and support reform at every level of government. Register here:

To keep these policies at the forefront:

Keep emailing about them (if you just finished the 5 Days Challenge, keep up the schedule—set reminders in your phone to email about each issue on its specific day).

To ask for more than this:

Use our templates as a model to ask for bigger changes. Color for Change and The Movement for Black Lives both have specific policy related to a reimagined law enforcement system. If you think there are additional policies we ought to consider, send your thoughts our way.

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