Why are the recent shootings in Billings being done by teenagers? Why is this escalation happening in our city?
These are among the questions I asked BPD Lt. Matt Lennick of the Billings Police Department.
I’m bringing you his answers because they are different than any others I have been told in years of reporting hard crime. “They feel emboldened. They tell us they know there isn’t enough room in the jail, and they will be released. We arrest them and then they are back on the streets. They know they will have the opportunity to commit another crime,” said Lt. Lennick.
“This is different generation. Their attitude is one of ‘You can’t do anything to me no matter what I do’,” said Lt. Lennick.
I asked him how law enforcement gains back public safety. He is one of the police officers who first started riding his bike around downtown Billings to make our streets safer, and he did. Just having his presence in the downtown area made patrons and business owners feel safer and it makes him an expert in what is going on with young people. “We talk with them. We try to impart giving up violence and finding a better direction in life, There’s only so much we can do. They feel emboldened in the system,” said Lt. Lennick.
“We would like to arrest them and have those charges stick,” exclaimed Lt. Lennick.
An 18-yearold female was arrested Friday, September 16th for shooting a 47-year-old man, leaving him with serious injuries. Four people, two juveniles and two adults, were charged this week for the shooting death of Koehn Parker.