Rich St. John

Recent Posts

Citizens speak out against hate activity, mayor chimes in


At a Billings City Council work session Monday night, Billings Mayor Bill Cole opened the meeting by reading a statement condemning recent acts of “deplorable, despicable, degrading” vandalism that carried racist and anti-gay messages. He said the hatred “has no place in Billings or any other community,” and he invited other council members to sign his statement, which will be posted on the city’s website. (more…) Continue Reading →

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School officials vow to deal with Daylis noise complaints


In response to neighborhood complaints about loud music during football games and practices at Daylis Stadium, School District 2 officials are promising to be “responsible and responsive.” In a “Good Neighbor Plan” drafted by Mark Wahl, athletic director for Billings Public Schools, the district pledges to take steps to minimize sound outside the stadium during games, and to use separate, smaller sound equipment for practices. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Defending the use—and abuse—of mugshots

An editorial in today’s Billings Gazette—in the print edition anyway; the online version for some reason is dated Feb. 3—made some good points about a bad bill. As originally introduced, House Bill 236 would have made it explicit that jail booking photos—mugshots—are public information. Current law is not quite so clear, with the result that some law enforcement agencies have refused to release mugshots. The bill was introduced by Rep. Frank Garner, a Kalispell Republican and former police chief, and it had the support of the Montana Association of Chiefs of Police. Continue Reading →

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‘All of Montana is a border town,’ civil rights panel told


A civil rights panel conducted a hearing in Billings for nearly eight hours Monday on the subject of discrimination against Native Americans, and it heard nothing more vivid than the testimony of Sarah Beaumont. For 20 minutes, punctuated by fits of sobbing, Beaumont told of working for a major company in a good union job in Billings, and of having to endure, on an almost daily basis, hateful, hurtful remarks about Native Americans. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Eye of the beholder: How fair, how good are Billings police?


Billings Police Chief Rich St. John and longtime activist Eran Thompson agree on one thing: Billings needs more cops. They both see true community policing, which gives cops a chance to interact in a meaningful way with the people they serve, as the best way to close the divisions separating communities and police departments across the country. And good community policing takes more cops on the street than Billings has. (more…) Continue Reading →

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BPD sanctioned for release of criminal justice info


The Montana Department of Justice has issued a sanction letter to the Billings Police Department in response to a police officer’s personal use of the state’s Criminal Justice Information Network. The letter to Police Chief Rich St. John from Jennifer Viets, CJIN program manager, gives the department 30 days to document what steps have been taken to ensure that there are no further CJIN violations. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Another reprimand issued to BPD Officer Morrison


Billings police Officer Grant Morrison, who was reprimanded for being cited by Laurel police for keeping pot-bellied pigs at his home and who recently pleaded not guilty to a state charge of possessing unlawfully captured deer fawns, has also been reprimanded for wrongfully obtaining criminal justice information for his private use. A “corrective action form” issued to Morrison in September, and obtained by Last Best News in a public information request, said the officer was given a written reprimand after seeking information for private use from the Criminal Justice Information Network and the National Crime Information Center. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Nondescript office is home to ‘highest court on earth’


Walking into two small rooms in the basement of an office building on the 700 block of Central Avenue in Billings, you’d never guess they house “the highest court in the land, on the earth.”

That’s how Cecil DeLabio described The Tacit Supreme In Law Court, of which he is The Chief Justice. He shares the office space with Ted Shinneman, who is the court’s Senior Chief Justice. (more…) Continue Reading →

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