The city of Ronan faces a class-action lawsuit over allegedly putting ineligible law enforcement on the street.
Ronan police Officer Treavor Wadsworth was hired in May of 2011.
The suit said he never completed a basic training course, required by Montana state law.
Wadsworth reportedly took suspect Anthony Chaney into custody on July 14, 2013. Chaney claims Wadsworth used unnecessary force, causing physical and emotional injury. The suit claims Wadsworth was acting outside the law.
On Tuesday, we talked with people in Ronan. Some said the controversy is hard on new police officers and the attention unnecessary. But one town leader said he saw it coming.
Tom Paro was a tribal officer and tribal prosecutor. He is a member of the Ronan Police Commission.
"I told them quite a few years ago," said Paro, "that there was going to be a problem. I was afraid the city was going to get sued."
Paro said he had concerns over past police activities. But he said nobody would listen to him.
"Arresting people illegally," Paro went on. "Some of the officers hadn't been to the Academy. They obviously thought it was all right. But it wasn't."
Paro thinks things are straightening out. He said there appears to be movement to hire a new police chief.
Acting police chief Kim Aiopperspach, who is also Ronan's mayor, had no comment.
The city attorney declined comment.
But we talked to one community leader who didn't want to be on camera. They said new officers are trying to do a good job. But past problems have made it difficult for them.
"Those new officers are getting heckled," they said.
Alice and Eugene Bond's house was burglarized about 18 months ago in Ronan. The Bonds said their experience with the police was positive.
"They were very nice, courteous police," said Eugene. "Knew what they were doing, asked the right questions, and left us with a good impression."
Bond is a former Missoula police officer.
Ronan is being "drug through the mud," said one town person.
"We need to quit wasting time and hire a permanent chief," they said. "This town needs to start functioning again."