HELENA, Mont. -

The Montana Department of Justice wants lawmakers to know they are investigating complaints against the Lake County Sheriff's office.

Officials addressed the issue at an interim legislative hearing today in Helena.

The Law and Justice Interim Committee tackled the question of whether current statutes are working.

"We can decide for ourselves whether legislation is necessary and if so what that legislation should look like," Committee Staff Attorney David Niss said.

According to the Department of Justice 10 complaints have been made about the Lake County Sheriff's office.

Allegations include poaching violations by local officers and election law violations.

Chief Civil Attorney Mike Sehestedt explained to the committee that he advised Lake County law enforcement officers not to attend the meeting.

"I felt it best that they not expose themselves to potential violation by exposing confidential criminal justice information or inadvertently interfering with a pending or ongoing investigation," Sehestedt said.

The committee also heard from representatives from Fish Wildlife & Parks and the Attorney General's office.

After testimonies, Chairman and State Senator Jim Shockley proposed a statute requiring county attorneys go straight to the attorney general's office if a member of the public alleges wrong doing by law enforcement.

"It's difficult for a county attorney to say well I've looked at the complaint and my sheriff is without sin it may well be true, but it doesn't have the credibility, because everybody knows the county attorney and the sheriff deal with each other everyday," Sen. Schockley said.

During public comment Bart Mulvihill, a man all the way from Hawaii, shared personal testimony of alleged mishandlings involving Lake County law enforcement.

Mulvihill agreed with Schockley's proposal.

"The state must step in and create oversight that's absolute and cannot be rebuffed by the current sheriff," Mulvihill said.