Last week Transportation Director Mike Tooley of the Montana DOT announced that he would be arming members of his Motor Carrier Service(MCS) officers with firearms. According to Tooley, this is for the safety of his officers who put themselves in harm’s way by stopping and inspecting commercial motor vehicles.
“We ask them to go out and make stops in places like the Bakken,” said Tooley. “It’s a public safety issue.”
Among those who object to the idea of DOT employees carrying firearms while on duty is Barry Stang, vice president of the Motor Carriers of Montana who posed the question “Why do they need a gun to enforce size and weight?”
There are some states whose MCS officers already carry guns. While some states like Montana’s inspections are done by MCS officers who are part of the Department of Transportation, other states’ MCS officers are part of that state’s highway patrol, operating as part of the Justice Department. This means that they are trained and supervised in the same way that highway patrol officers are.
Currently, Tooley only plans to train and arm just over a quarter of his MCS officers.