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.
For nearly three years, Downtown business owners and property owners asked for expansion of the program. Following renewal of the Downtown BID in February of 2020, the Downtown BID and the Missoula Police Department pursued and received a community-oriented policing services grant that helps fund our new second officer for the next three years, seven days a week.
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.
Officer Jay Gillhouse joined Downtown Missoula year-round on foot and on bike in 2020. 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.
Our Downtown Dedicated Police Officers log their interactions within the Business Improvement District core. In conjunction with the interactions listed below, our officers are charged with managing abandoned vehicles, graffiti reports, traffic issues and vehicle accidents, property recovery, and animal control. Included are over 3,508 extra patrols in and around our Downtown parks, our library, The Poverello Center, street parking and parking garages.
- 784 Citizen Inquires and Assistance
- 2 Aggressive Panhandling
- 22 Assault
- 16 Bike/traffic
- 190 Camping
- 127 Criminal mischief & disorderly conduct
- 4 Intoxicated in roadways
- 14 Littering
- 103 Mental Health Crises
- 57 Open container
- 109 Possession of drugs & para
- 108 Theft and trespass
- 13 Warrants
- 175 Welfare checks
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 Jay Gillhouse via phone (406) 830-5218 or email ([email protected]).