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Drug endangered children's needs addressed

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News from Polson Police Sergeant George Simpson

POLSON – The National Alliance for the Drug Endangered Children conference was held in La Crosse, Wisconsin from July 16-18. Melanie Smith, director of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ Tribal Alliance for DEC, Ronan Police Officer Brandon Smith and Polson Police Sergeant George Simpson attended the conference.

The focus of the conference was to provide practitioners with information on a variety of topics and serve as an opportunity to discuss issues of common interest with others involved.

“Through the DEC Alliance, I have gained knowledge to focus on the totality of the situation, more than the criminal investigation, with an emphasis toward creating a safe and healthy environment for our children,” Officer Brandon Smith said.

Some of the conference highlights included training from Jerry Moe who is the National Director of Children’s Programs from the Betty Ford Center. His seminar was called “Through the Eyes of a Child.” Other powerful courses included investigating and prosecuting child deaths, forensic interviewing of the DEC victims, DEC cases from start to finish, the drug endangered teen, changing the conversation for victims and DEC in Indian country.

“This training was valuable in that I was able to gain an understanding about the importance of working together as a team with a focus on rescuing, defending, sheltering and protecting our precious children,” said Melanie Smith, CSKT Tribal Alliance.

Melanie, along with Judge Richard Blake of the Hoopa Valley Tribe (California) taught the course on DEC in Indian country. “Truly a pleasure to present on issues that affect our children. Collaboration across the country will strengthen our ability to protect our tribal children and enable tribes to be on the forefront of solutions," Blake said.

Simpson said his biggest takeaway was that addicted adults tend to be yesterday’s children that nobody helped. "Sadly, children in these situations are the last ones that receive help, and this cannot continue to be the status quo because they are the first ones hurt," Simpson said. "We will seek out innovative solutions anywhere we can find them. This is our duty.” 

For more information on the Community Strong DEC Alliance and how you can help children in your community please contact Melanie Smith at 406-241-1251 or melanie.smith@cskt.org or contact Sgt. Simpson at 406-883-8211 gsimpson@cityofpolson.com.

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