Homeland security initiatives in Billings, Montana are part of the city’s strategy to minimize major crime and terrorist activity that poses a real threat to the stability and prosperity of the region. Because these challenges span the jurisdiction and require the capabilities of several agencies, everyone from officers at the Billings Police Department to sheriff’s deputies and ATF agents are involved with combined training so as to be prepared for any threat that may occur at any time. The Billings PD and the Montana Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation participate in joint programs that include:
- Investigative Support Bureau
- Narcotics Bureau
- City-County Special Investigations Unit
- FBI Safe Street’s Task Force
- U.S. Marshal’s Violent Offender Task Force
Homeland Security Degrees and Certification Options in Billings
Degrees – There are a variety of specializations in the homeland security field, though to get a foot in the door, potential officers and agents can begin by completing a homeland security degree program. Associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in homeland security are offered online and at local community, state, and private colleges where students will have the opportunity to study in-depth the history, philosophy, and modern practice of homeland security as it is practiced in Billings, and across the nation. For advanced students, graduate-level homeland security certificate courses include:
- Advanced Homeland Security Management
- Security Intelligence
- Homeland Security Emergency Preparedness and Response
Certification – The CHS I-III Homeland Security Certification Course gives students the opportunity to learn the basics of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) National Response Plan while also providing some background about the founding and structure of the DHS. Individual law enforcement and investigative agencies provide or contract their own Homeland Security certification programs as part of their basic or advanced training courses. These often focus on specific aspects of homeland security.
Recent High Profile Homeland Security Actions in Billings
Nearly half a ton of explosives were recently stolen by potential terrorists from a U.S. Forest Service storage bunker near Red Lodge, and homeland security officials based out of Billings are collecting evidence and clues to build a case for a future arrest and prosecution. Although the detonators for the pilfered explosives are stored at a separate facility and remain safe, officials are still worried for the potential of a terrorist attack on a local target and are working with Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives agents to determine any potential risks. As terrorists become more sophisticated in their accrual of weapons of mass destruction and construction of improvised explosive devices, law enforcement and investigative officials use the latest tools at their disposal to prevent an attack before it is too late.
13 Billings residents are in jail after being arrested by a team of officers and specialists from five agencies on charges of trafficking 50-70 kilograms of cocaine. The majority of those arrested were also charged with firearms violations and face decades of prison time if convicted. In this multi-agency investigation and operation, those entrusted with homeland security careers in Billings were directly responsible for removing major sources of drugs and illegal activity from their city and saving an untold number of residents from addiction and potentially death. Collaborating with state and federal officials gives local law enforcement greater resources and jurisdiction to more effectively carry out their job duties.