First, I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to Sheriff Scott Howard for his many years of dedication to public safety and for his service to our community and county. I would also like to clear up some possible misunderstandings that have been going through the community of Deer Lodge over the past several months.

Secondly, the city has no thoughts, wants, or plans for any form of reconsolidation of our police department with the county sheriff office. No discussions occurred among the county commissioners, the mayor’s office, or the city council.

Unfortunately, rumors of this nature can undermine the community’s confidence in our police department. The city council and myself are proud of the officers comprising the police department, and they have and will continue to have the council’s full support.

Reconsolidation will not provide the coverage of law enforcement the residents of Deer Lodge deserve. Furthermore, there is no indication that reconsolidation would provide significant savings to the City of Deer Lodge. The city council and myself will not put at risk the health and safety of this community or jeopardize the functionality of our police department for perceived cost efficiencies. Please don’t misunderstand us, the city will continue to assist the sheriff office as mutual aid, and assistance with all other law enforcement agencies that work in our city.

And as always feel free to call and discuss any topics with your ward representative. I want to again thank Sheriff Howard, and the best of luck to all who choose to run for an elected position.

Zane Cozby is the mayor of Deer Lodge.