The Downtown Business Improvement District focuses on improving the cleanliness, safety and economic health of Downtown Missoula. Funded by property owners within a defined boundary, the BID provides and supports a suite of programs with a finite focus on safety. The Dedicated Downtown Police Officer (DDPO) has been in place since 2009.
By state law, BIDs cannot replace services provided by the local municipality. The DDPO program is a partnership that places one selected officer to patrol Downtown Missoula specifically to focus on getting to know the inhabitants of the district, including business owners, employees, residents and the general consumers. Through connections, collaboration, and problem solving, the Downtown Police Officer focuses on building trust and relationships with the Downtown community, crime prevention, improving response times and action, and directing those in need to services.
With just one officer for Downtown, the services are only offered four days a week. Consequently, for nearly three years, Downtown business owners and property owners have asked for expansion of the program to seven days a week. Following renewal of the Downtown BID in February, the Downtown BID and the Missoula Police Department pursued and received a community-oriented policing services grant to help fund a second officer for the next three years.
Funded in partnership by the Downtown Missoula Partnership, the City of Missoula, and the Missoula Parking Commission, the Downtown Policing Program has reduced crime, focusing on safety, and improved the quality of life on the streets, sidewalks, alleys, parks, trails and parking lots of Downtown Missoula.
As the Dedicated Downtown Police Officer for the last 2.5 years, Officer Randy Krastel has helped 16 individuals living on the streets of Downtown return home to their families, into addiction treatment services, or into stable housing. In 2019 he provided information and assistance to over 800 citizens in Downtown. He provided nearly 400 extra visits to Downtown parking structures and 1,100 extra patrols in Downtown parks. Throughout the 2019-20 academic year, a UM Social Work Practicum Student accompanied Office Krastel for nearly 20 hours a week. From this pilot project, a new crisis management program is now being developed for the City of Missoula.
With the addition of a second officer, the Downtown BID can now provide community policing seven days a week, instead of just four.
Officer Randy Krastel, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, earned an associate degree from the Community College of Baltimore County in 1998. He relocated to Missoula in 1999 and earned a B.S. in Sociology and Criminology from the University of Montana in 2003.
Krastel has been a patrol officer with the Missoula Police Department since 2004. He is married and has two children, ages 5 and 2. In his free time, he enjoys fishing and gardening, and he grows giant pumpkins.
Officer Jay Gillhouse will join officer Randy Krastel to patrol Downtown Missoula year-round on foot and on bike. Gillhouse joined the Missoula Police Department in 2018, following nine years of service with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. A native of Ronan, Mont., Gillhouse served seven years in the U.S. Coast Guard.
- Provided information and assistance to nearly 800 citizens
- Issued nearly 27 tickets for open container
- Issued 165 tickets for camping in Downtown
- Issued over 130 tickets for disorderly conduct
- Issued nearly 110 tickets for trespassing
- Issued 4 tickets for dog violations
- Assisted 16 people to return to out of state families
- Executed nearly 150 welfare checks and almost 25 outstanding warrants
Additionally, city police provide additional patrol services to multiple areas of Downtown, including the Missoula Public Library, the Mountain Line Transit Center, the Northside Pedestrian Bridge and all Downtown parks and parking structures.
A thriving and vibrant Downtown is a safe Downtown. For more information on Downtown Policing, contact Officer Randy Krastel via phone (406-396-3188) or email ([email protected]).