Purchase of cameras for GFPD Detectives/ School Resource Officers
The Great Falls Police Community Foundation funded the purchase of four Canon EOS Rebel T3 Digital SLR cameras so that each of the Great Falls detectives/ school resource officers (SRO) would have one at their disposal. These high-end cameras have aided greatly in the course of their investigations.
The detectives/ SRO’s investigate many incidents that require in depth investigation and many times photos are necessary to capture items for evidentiary purposes. From incidents such as assaults, vandalism, narcotics and tobacco concerns, cameras are an integral part to doing their job. On numerous occasions, local businesses have contacted the school resource officers with concerns regarding issues happening around school buildings such as smoking.
In an effort to curb these issues, the school resource officers have worked diligently with these businesses to conduct surveillance operations to effectively enforce state statutes that would apply. The advanced technical capabilities of the new cameras are helping in these operations by allowing the detectives/ SRO’s to identify the individuals engaging in suspicious or illegal activity. The new cameras are capable of zooming in on the targets and capturing high quality images.
Each camera is equipped with an 18-55mm zoom lens, a 75-300mm telephoto zoom lens and other accessories such as a carrying bag, SD card, tripod and cables.
Purchase of gas masks for the GFPD High Risk Unit (HRU)
The Great Falls Police Community Foundation purchased gas masks that replaced outdated masks that were a potential liability to the department. The High Risk Unit encounters very difficult and hazardous situations. For example, the HRU team made an entry into a residence associated with the dealing of narcotics. Officers discovered that the old masks failed to seal properly, creating additional challenges and hazards. In this circumstance, the occupant of the residence was known to possess firearms in addition to having a large surveillance system.
The purchase of new gas masks enables officers to deal with these circumstances with the type of equipment that assists in their safety, performance and proficiency. This in turn allows them to work diligently to ensure the safety of our community.
The High Risk Unit (HRU) is part of the total crisis management team that is specially trained and equipped to handle high risk situations upon activation from their normal assignments. The team is comprised of entry team members, negotiators, observer-snipers, and medics. Officers who wish to be part of this team must pass rigorous mental and physical agility testing.
Purchase of HRU Entry Protective Shields for the GFPD Swat team
The Great Falls Police Community Foundation purchased two Ballistic Shields. These Ballistic Shields provide protection against high powered threats for law enforcement SWAT during tactical entry situations.
Purchase of Honor Guard Uniforms
The Great Falls Police Community Foundation purchased Honor Guard Uniforms for each of its members. Prior to the GFPCF donation, officers would wear their dress uniforms with white ascots and gloves to ceremonies.
Although the formation of the Great Falls Police Department Honor Guard was discussed over many years, it took a tragic event to provide the impetus and ultimate motivation to see it created.
On February 6th, 2007, while en-route to Bozeman to pick up a patient, the Benefis Hospital Mercy Flight fixed wing aircraft crashed. All three crew-members were killed:
Darcy Dengel: Flight nurse. Engaged to GFPD Officer Rob Beall
Paul Erickson: Flight paramedic, Great Falls Firefighter and a medical member of the GFPD High Risk Unit.
Vince Kirol: Pilot; Vince and his wife, a CMR High School teacher, both had close community ties.
The decision was made to form the GFPD Honor Guard to give proper recognition to these individuals and their loved ones. Officer John Green, a former Marine with Honor Guard experience, volunteered his expertise in instructing raw recruits in the art of precision drill.
The honor guard has become a regular fixture in Great Falls, making itself available for presentation of colors at community functions, ceremonial courtesy and, of course, rifle salutes at appropriate funeral and memorial services.
Purchase K-9 – Oakley
The Great Falls Police Community Foundation to date, has purchased two K-9’s for the GFPD in the past five years. The most recent K-9 purchase is Oakley, a Dutch Shepherd/Belgian Malanois mix from Turkey. Oakley trained at Southern Police Canine Inc. (SPCI) in North Carolina and is proficient in the areas of narcotics, tracking, building searches, area searches, article searches and suspect apprehension. Oakley’s Handler is SPO Katie Cunningham.
Oakley currently serves K-9 Hondo and his Handler, SPO Katie Cunningham. Hondo was also trained at Southern Police Canine Inc. (SPCI) in North Carolina and is proficient in the areas of narcotics, tracking, building searches, area searches, article searches and suspect apprehension.
Purchase of Trauma Kits for the GFPD’s Marked and Unmarked Vehicles
The Great Falls Police Community Foundation funded the purchase of Trauma kits for all of the GFPD’s marked and unmarked vehicles. The trauma kits are not your typical first aid kits. These trauma kits will be used for extreme emergency situations, such as an officer being shot. Each kit is housed inside the cabin of the car for quick and easy access.
The kit contains the following items: 1 pouch, a CAT tourniquet, chest seal ( 2 pack), 6″ pressure dressing, a set of EMT shears and a pair of gloves. These trauma kits are strategically positioned allowing instant access for officers who have been shot, greatly improving their chance of survival.
Purchase of twenty Tasers
The Great Falls Police Community Foundation’s goal is to arm every officer in the GFPD with a Tasers. Tasers have been credited with reducing the rate of injuries and deaths among police officers and suspects. Prior to the GFPCF commitment in providing the Tasers, cost was prohibitive and forced officers to share Tasers or simply go without.