Veteran, Police Officer Runs for Missoula Justice of the Peace
Daniel ‘Chris’ Kaneff is one of two law enforcement officers who are running against incumbent Alex Beal for Justice of the Peace in Department One.
Kaneff appeared on the KGVO Talk Back show on Monday and shared his background that began with his many years of service in the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Army Reserves.
“I received the Police Medal in 2005 and I retired from the police department just last year in August of 2021,” said Kaneff. “Having served 21 years (in law enforcement) all on the street, my last six was as a street supervisor. I recently put the uniform back on and I walked across the street and the sheriff over there offered me a job as a special deputy for the Missoula County Sheriff's Department. I work there right now part time as mostly a bailiff. I do bailiff duties for justice and district courts over there.”
Kaneff explained why he decided to pursue more public service after a long career in the military and law enforcement.
“I think it's a natural transition,” he said. “To be honest, this last year of being retired, even though I've worked here and there, I'm bored, and I don't think I'm done serving, I think I still have something to offer, and I think that my skills and my background don't lend to a lot of things, but they certainly do lend to a position like Justice of the Peace. I have been in that community for a very long time. So I have something to add, I think.”
Kaneff said law enforcement is being blamed unfairly for repeat offenders being released over and over again only to reoffend.
“As a law enforcement officer, it was very frustrating to see in print or on the radio or on the news, where the police are getting blamed for such and such being out when they knew he was a bad person, and I can tell you from firsthand experience, that it's not the police's fault, they do their job,” he said. “They're some of the best professionals I've ever had the pleasure of working with, but the system isn't ready for what is out there right now.”
After taking several questions from Talk Back listeners, Kaneff brought up the subject of Missoula’s overcrowded jail and that a new, bigger facility is badly needed.
“The population of Missoula in 1999, when (the jail) first opened was about 57,000 people,” he said. “The population of Missoula in 2020, according to the census was 73,489. In addition, in this 10 year period that we're in right now looks to be the biggest growth spurt Missoula has ever encountered since 1883. You can't increase your population the way we have over the next 10 years to come without increasing those facilities and having fewer people in jail. It's not going to be a popular thing for me to say but having fewer people in jail is not making anybody safer.”
Former Sheriff’s Captain Bill Burt is also running for the Department One Justice of the Peace seat currently held by Alex Beal.