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A Helena police officer and labor association board member has been suspended from both positions amid an investigation into discrepancies with the association's finances. 

The Helena Police Protective Association removed the officer from its board after noticing the discrepancies during a regular review of its finances this month, President Jared Ryan said. 

"Upon discovering the discrepancies, we immediately notified the Helena Police Department administration, and have requested that an investigation be conducted by appropriate authorities — both within and outside the Helena Police Department,” Ryan said in a press release Tuesday. "That investigation is ongoing at this time."

The Helena Police Department placed the officer on paid administrative leave Aug. 12, interim Police Chief Steve Hagen said.

Hagen declined to comment on the police department's internal investigation because it is a personnel matter, but said the criminal investigation is being handled by the Montana Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation. 

Ryan told the Independent Record that the total amount of the financial discrepancies has not yet been determined. 

"We are disappointed that we have been put in the position to request an investigation of one of our own," he said. "However, it is of the utmost importance to us that a thorough and complete investigation be conducted that will comprehensively determine the scope of this issue."

Ryan also noted in the press release that "our Board has carefully reviewed and updated our internal policies and procedures to ensure the protection and responsible use of the funds that our members entrust to us."

The Helena Police Protective Association serves sworn officers and support staff of the Helena Police Department. Board members are elected yearly by the association's membership, Ryan said. 

The name of the officer being investigated has not been released.

Independent Record reporter Thomas Plank contributed to this story. 

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