Daines visits Helena, presents challenge coins to sheriff’s office

Source: Helena Independent Record

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines visited the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday to thank the law enforcement agency for its efforts combating the surge of methamphetamine and fentanyl that he said is currently ravaging his home state.

“It’s not lost on us how much more dangerous your jobs are with the escalation of drugs,” the Montana Republican said during a challenge coin presentation ceremony, flanked by Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton and Undersheriff Brent Colbert in the Law and Justice Center.

“The scourge of fentanyl and meth, it’s just edge to edge in our state now,” he said, noting the “tragic shooting” of a 15-year-old boy walking to Great Falls High School Tuesday morning, though news accounts do not make a connection between the shooting and drugs.

Daines said more fentanyl has been seized by Montana law enforcement this past year than in the previous four years combined.

The sheriff’s office reciprocated with Dutton presenting two challenge coins of his own to Daines, including one made by sheriff’s office employees.

“So it means something to them to give it out,” Dutton said. “Even though you’re in D.C., this is your home; this is our home; this is our community.”

The other was a challenge coin from the Western States Sheriffs’ Association. Dutton, its immediate past president, said Daines is “quite popular” among its members and “thought of fondly.”

“The sheriffs and the leadership do appreciate what you do, not just for Montana, but because we are like-minded in the West, they really appreciate what you do to keep the United States safe.”

Challenge coins are small coins or medallions bearing an organization’s insignia or emblem and carried by the group’s members.

Daines, along with much of the Montana delegation, returned to the Queen City Monday during the Presidents Day break.

He addressed the state Legislature Monday, and after the sheriff’s office visit, he was to make stops at Adaptive Performance Center — which helps veterans and active military personnel improve their mental health and overall wellness through physical fitness — and the Montana Association of Counties conference currently being held in Helena.