An independent reviewer has determined that the Missoula Police Department has made substantial progress toward achieving a true community-coordinated response to sexual assault, in compliance with an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice.

Police Chief Mark Muir said on Thursday, November 7, that his department has put in maximum effort in complying with the justice department's agreement with the city.

"We have been working very hard to do everything we could to improve our capacity for good investigation of sexual assault, and to improve the relationship with victims," Muir said.

According to Muir, one individual has been retained to monitor responses by both the Missoula Police Department and the University of Montana Police Department.

"Tom Tremblay is a former chief of police in Vermont, and he has extensive experience in helping to promote better investigation of sexual violence," Muir said. "His report documents our effort in moving forward to improve the reporting environment and to improve the outcome of victims' interaction with law enforcement."

Muir said with his retirement in December, he feels the next chief will successfully complete the agreement with the justice department.

"I'm certain that the gentlemen I've been working with here this past five and a half years as chief, that they have the capacity to move this forward," Muir said. "I feel we're well taken care of and in good hands to move forward."

Missoula Police Chief Mark Muir: