Officer Randy Krastel has been patrolling Downtown Missoula as the lone Business Improvement District officer since he took over the position in 2018.
Downtown Missoula is getting its second dedicated downtown business improvement district officer something that downtown businesses say is greatly needed.
“For quite a while we have been trying to get a second downtown officer which isn’t just your standard police officer the focus really is the safety of downtown and aiding homeless people as well as building relationships with business owners,” Big Dipper owner and Business Improvement District Chairman Charlie Beaton.
It’s not your typical patrol position which is one of the reasons that Officer Jay Gillhouse took the position.
“I’m very excited it’s something that I have wanted to do. It’s something I put in for. It’s a position I feel like really puts me in the position to help people,” new Business Improvement District Officer Jay Gillhouse said.
Gillhouse says that issues downtown range from theft to public intoxications and problems with Missoula’s homeless population.
Problems that Gillhouse says his position handles a little differently.
“If a homeless person is blocking a business its easy to pack them up and move them along but to get to know that person and really try to find out what is the problem and teach them this isn’t going to work for the community and it’s not working for you so let’s try to find a way to put you in a place that’s going to work for both of you,” Gillhouse added.
Both Gillhouse and Beaton agree that one big reason for bringing in a second BID officer is to have one available 7 days a week. Right now, the lone BID officer is only available four days a week.
GIllhouse says that as the winter months approach he’s preparing to help homeless populations downtown find the resources they need to survive the cold.