A project founded by the wife of a slain sheriff's deputy is getting off the ground and providing grants to law enforcement throughout Montana.
Jodi Moore lost her husband, Mason Moore, in May of 2017. Lloyd and Marshall Barrus are accused of shooting Mason in his patrol car near Three Forks. His death still reverberates in the community where he lived and worked. His wife wanted to do something to help the men and women who put their lives on the line.
The Mason Moore Foundation began in 2017. "I started the idea immediately," Moore said. "I wanted to be able to fight back in some way." She said that because Mason was killed in uniform, in a patrol car, it's struck a chord with people.
The Mason Moore Foundation is building what Moore hopes to be a sustainable grant program.
"The grant project is to deal with the lack of funding in small towns, rural towns," Moore said. Mason Moore wanted to live in a small town, and his wife believes in continuing his passion for the places off the beaten path.
Moore has already met with Rep. Greg Gianforte and Sen. Steve Daines and is hoping to speak with more political figures.
"I'll talk with anybody," she said.
"Funding is pretty bad in a lot of places," Moore said. The grant process can help paper over cracks in a budget shortfall, and a group of advisers helps her apportion money for departments in the state.
"They review grant applications to determine critical needs," she said.
One of those advisers is Brandon Harris, the undersheriff in Broadwater County. "I'm honored to have the opportunity to do that for the foundation," Harris said.
Law enforcement budgets regularly are supplemented by grants, Harris said.
"Homeland Security grants are hard to come by," he said of the money the department provides to law enforcement. That process usually involves a grant writer and a whole lot of paperwork. "This process is much simpler, easier to apply for a review."
Harris said for groups applying for the grants, the advisory committee looks to see if it's a "realistic" need. "Many grants are appropriate," Harris said. "We make the final decision."
Moore said the foundation has just about $40,000 in grant funds they are preparing to provide.
"We're hoping to keep it open all the time," Moore said. "If there's an emergent need, we'll reach out."