There have been too many police/county officer shootings in the last few months. This most recent shooting involves a welfare check for a mental health concern.
Police or county officers have shot a person on the Rims, a person at the Lazy KT, a person at Big Bear, a person on Prickett Lane and this person on Canary Lane. So far, we know that three have died. I don't believe I heard if the person at the Lazy KT survived or is deceased.
It would benefit Billings City and Yellowstone County to create a definitive policy which must be agreed upon by the City Council and county commissioners to require outside investigation into these police shootings.
At this time, Billings is the only city out of the seven largest cities in Montana that does not have a policy to require outside investigations. Billings investigates itself.
Please encourage trust in our law enforcement by creating a policy to require outside investigation after a person has been shot. This policy must also include a representative community board to review any shooting. On this board should be a mental health representative, cultural and ethnic peers of the wounded or deceased and others with no affiliation to the city or county except for the fact they reside there.
As the eldest grandchild of a retired Billings police chief, I respect the difficult daily decisions of the officers. Transparency and external review will temper the fear of community members who are now experiencing distrust or afraid to call for assistance.
Colleen O'Connor Osgard