Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Bryan Lockerby, Administrator of the Division of Criminal Investigation at the Montana Department of Justice, spoke to KGVO News on Thursday praising the legislature for passing bills to help fight crime in the state.

Lockerby explained the role of his agency in law enforcement.

Lockerby explained the Purpose of the Division of Criminal Investigation

“The Montana Division of Criminal Investigation’s role is to support local law enforcement; to provide resources when they're short-handed or they might need some extra assistance, and also in situations that might require some transparency when you have to bring another agency into conduct an investigation,” began Lockerby. “For example, in an officer-involved shooting you don't want to investigate your own, so you bring in somebody else and that's what we do. There are plenty of communities that are very rural and small, and so they might not have the expertise when a major crime occurs, a homicide or something like that, and we have the resources to help.”

Lockerby praised the efforts of Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen in getting the important legislation passed in the session that just ended.

Lockerby Praised the Efforts of Attorney General Austin Knudsen

“I have to hand it to our Attorney General, who went around the state and they listen to local law enforcement and communities and, you know, he told him, he says, I've got your back. Public safety is my number one priority and he clearly delivered. And when we go through these times of defunding the police in other parts of the nation, the message is clear. For Montana, it's heartening to me that you would have this kind of support for public safety. When people put those signs up that say “Back the Blue, they mean it and it was clearly demonstrated in this session.”

Lockerby said his agency also received necessary funding for more well-trained personnel.

Lockerby Explained what the Funding will be Used For

“We did receive some personnel,” he said. “We have three more major crimes investigators and that's going to bolster us up to 14 agents out there in the state. We received two additional narcotics investigators and that will put us at 30 around the state. We had two human trafficking investigators and that clearly wasn't enough. The Attorney General felt that we needed more impact on human trafficking, so we have two additional folks we'll be hiring to conduct human trafficking investigations around our state.”

Lockerby said his agency also received a needed boost to combat cybercrime.

“If you think about digital evidence these days, and the ‘Internet of Things’ between the number of cell phones and smart TVs and all the data that's out there, we're overwhelmed with submissions and our turnaround time is not very good simply because we can't keep up with everything that's out there,” he said. “So we're going to have more resources there, including help with the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Task Force; Elder Justice and elder abuse, where we now have an investigator and a prosecutor.”

Lockerby’s agency was in charge of investigating the recent fatal shooting in the small community of St. Regis.

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