The Flathead County Sheriff’s Posse’s efforts to find a new home is still a work in progress, but with a tentative agreement to buy the old roller rink on Shady Lane in Evergreen, it is closer than ever.
According to Posse Commander Sam Nunnally, it’s time for the group, which has been in existence since 1946, to have a permanent location.
The Sheriff’s Posse provides support enforcement for a variety of community events and functions, including crowd control, security at school events and the Northwest Montana Fair, prisoner transport and support for securing crime scenes during overnight areas.
Through the years the Posse has used various community rooms and rented conference rooms for training and other function. Its equipment is housed in a storage shed at the Flathead County Fairgrounds.
“We’ve been around for more than 70 years and it’s time we had a home,” Nunnally said. “A place for all our equipment, training and vehicles so we can better respond to area law enforcement agencies we work with.
“And it’s really a lot more than that. We envision it being a training center for first responders and law enforcement officers in the Flathead Valley and a community center for deputies and law enforcement to interact with kids.
“It could be a safe place for kids in the community to come to and maybe play basketball, volleyball, the “No Kids Hungry” program, after-school literacy and countless other options in the future to support the families in the neighborhood.
“Kids rarely see the positive side of law enforcement and this would be that chance, the chance to prevent some of the drug and alcohol problems we see so much of.
“We also really want to plant a flag in Evergreen. It has grown so much along with the valley in the last 10, 20 years, we feel having a presence there is very important,“ Nunnally said.
The Posse also believes it would offer a place for area law enforcement and sheriff department officers to have a safe place to write reports, use facilities and interact with the community. It could also serve as a emergency operations center for the county where first responders could stage and offer services in the event of a major castrophe.
The Posse made an offer in April and is still in a fundraising mode as it works to secure enough money to buy it and renovate the 9,000-square foot building.
“It’s going to take about $100,000 the first year to cover purchase costs and costs to address facility issues to make sure we can address the needs of the community,” Nunnally said.
He said the plan for the building includes keeping the area intact where the roller rink is located.
“We feel it could be an area where community members could use it for birthday parties or similar events, but also for law enforcement training,” Nunnally said.
A playground and pond sit behind the building and Nunnally also envisions them being part of the plan for area kids to be able to use.
Nunnally said those giving $500 will get their name on a donor wall that would be located inside the building. A $100,000 donor will be able to name the building.
Even if the proposal to buy the old skating rink doesn’t pan out, the money the Posse has received will still go toward a future home, he added.
For those interested in supporting the Posse’s cause, tax-deductible donations can be made to the Flathead County Sheriff Posse, P.O. Box 31, Kalispell, MT 59903, to the attention of the FCSP Building Fund.
People who want to help in other ways could volunteer services, such as painting, electric work, or similar things.
Reporter Scott Shindledecker can be reached at (406) 758-4441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.