Last Friday July 16, the Billings Police Department Evidence Center on Midland Road welcomed Senator Steve Daines, officials in law enforcement, and members of the news media for a tour of the facility that has been in operation for about a year. The Evidence Center is designed with the officers in mind and with emphasis on the proper chain of custody. They have work areas to document and package evidence, then the packages are placed in one-way lockers; once the locker door is closed, the officer has no more access to the items inside. Fentanyl is so dangerous that police treat it as a hazardous material and double-bagged for storage. The facility includes storage for evidence with retention protocols depending on the crime committed.
After the tour, Senator Daines sat down with officials for the sobering reality of crime statistics in the area. At the table were County Attorney Scott Twito, Billings Police Chief Rich St. John, Billings Councilman Roy Neese, Sheriff Mike Linder, County Commissioner John Ostlund, City Administrator Chris Kukulski, Judge Mary Jane Knisely, and state Corrections Director Brian Gootkin. Some of the details:
A high majority of these crimes are related to drugs. The big three are meth, heroin