Experience abounds in sheriff/coroner race: Bryon Armour: committed to community

By: 
DEB HILL
News-Argus Managing Editor
Friday, September 28, 2018

Bryon Armour

 

 

With almost 24 years in law enforcement, Bryon Armour feels it’s time to move to a level where he can have more impact, and running for sheriff is how he hopes to do that.

Growing up in Central Montana, Armour said he feels a deep connection to the communities he serves, and he worked hard to get back here. 

“I have family in Grass Range and I grew up in Central Montana,” he said. “I enjoy helping people.”

Armour points to his military service, with four years in the Marine Corps working in anti-terrorism, as a good start for his law enforcement training. He has a degree in criminology, and served in the Army Guard, during which time he was deployed to Bosnia. His experience also includes two years as a dispatcher for the West Yellowstone Police Department and nine years as a deputy with Mineral County. 

“I’ve got 19 years of patrol experience,” Armour said. “I’ve been an EMT on an ambulance and I am nationally certified as a fireman. I have experience with the U.S. Marshalls, and I’ve been trained as a canine officer for drug work.”

He is ready for the job he sees as the “true backbone” of local law enforcement.

“Because the sheriff is elected by the people, he has the additional responsibility to answer to the people,” Armour said.

Armour already has in mind things he will change if he is elected.

“One of the first things I’ll do is get a professionally trained canine team in the Sheriff’s department,” he said. “Having a canine team allows you to build probable cause for search warrants, locate drugs and increase the number of seizures.”

 “Drugs are behind much of the crime in Central Montana,” Armour added. “It’s not just about catching someone using or selling drugs. A lot of theft that does on, crimes against property, crimes against persons.”

With that in mind, Armour believes Sheriff’s deputies need more training in areas such as conducting drug searches and using informants.

“A trained officer is an effective officer,” he said.

In addition, if elected, Armour proposes to work with the Sheriff’s budget to find a way to provide more time for officers to work on drug cases.

“Right now, most of our deputies have to work their cases while they are on their shifts, which means other duties may draw them away,” he said. “I have a different idea of how to use our budget to accomplish more work on the drug cases, so deputies can take the time needed to do it well.”

Armour said it’s important to take into account funds generated by drug seizure cases.

 “By law we can seize assets, such as vehicles or boats, and, if the case is proven, we can sell those assets. The money goes into a seizure forfeiture fund, used to supplement the department’s budget for things like training and dogs. So the extra hours put into working the cases doesn’t all have to come out of the County budget,” he said.

Another area in which Armour proposes to make some changes is in relationships between the Sheriff’s department and other law enforcement agencies.

“I think some relationships have been strained recently and it’s not as open as it has been in the past,” Armour said. “These relationships are important, as the other agencies provide an invaluable source of information for us. There have been some personality conflicts and I want to see those relationships improved. I can help with that.”

As far as the coroner portion of the job, Armour said he is aware of how the process works.

“When I was a deputy in Mineral County, they had a combined Sheriff/Coroner position. It’s not that difficult. It just means training for the deputies who may be assisting with the investigation. I don’t see it straining our resources that much.

Armour said his prior experience leads him to believe the local funeral homes will play an important role with storage of the bodies and providing exam rooms. 

“A deputy will do the unattended death investigation, the Sheriff/Coroner will do the coroner’s report and a funeral home will pick up the body,” he said. “I understand it was all worked out when the County Commission created the combined position. I think the process is very simple, and I’m ready to take it on.”

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