Bozeman Police: Code Compliance Program proves successful


Bozeman Police: Code Compliance Program proves successful

BOZEMAN, Mont. - The Bozeman Police Department gave a progress report at the City Commission meeting Monday on a new job position they created last year -- an officer who only focuses on quality of life issues in Bozeman.

The Code Compliance Officer position opened in July 2013. The officer enforces non-emergency city-code violations, like failing to shovel snow, leaving garbage on your lawn, or abandoned vehicles.

Bozeman Police Captain Andy Knight said the job frees up other officers to handle more pressing issues.

"I think sometimes people are a little afraid that they're bothering the Police Department when they call with smaller issues like shoveling sidewalks or trash and that sort of thing," explained Capt. Andy Knight, "and we want them to know that is not true. The Police Department is here and responsive, and they really want to solve those problems."

On Monday afternoon, Bozeman Police Department's Code Compliance Officer Mark Carpenter is dealing with noxious weeds in a Bozeman neighborhood. He's trying to get a hold of the property owner to mow them.

"I'm waiting for him to take care of the problem," he said, "and if he doesn't, we'll have to take care of the problem and he'll get the bill."

Carpenter explained the three main issues he deals with are noxious weeds, people leaving abandoned vehicles, and people leaving their furniture or garbage out on the sidewalk. He said his job helps other officers focus on bigger crimes.

"I would rather the police officers go out and take care of robberies, burglaries, accidents and people that are misbehaving," he said.

The Police Department said it's been a big help. A progress report to Bozeman Commissioners states the Code Compliance Program has seen a 90-percent success rate, meaning most issues get resolved.

The Department's been able to cut down on repeat problems, and educate the community before things like snow removal and noxious weeds become a problem.

"They give me the right to write tickets, but I haven't written a ticket," Carpenter said. "I just want you to pick up your stuff, mow your weeds, take the couch off the curb, get the car moved, shovel your sidewalk."

They're issues that may seem small, but the Department and Carpenter both agree -- having the Code Compliance Program helps the Department and provides a service to the community.

If you have any quality of life concerns, you can call (406) 582-2222 or email qualityoflife@bozeman.net.

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