By Sarah Plummer
Gant Montgomery, newly promoted chief of Beckley Police Department’s Detective’s Bureau, is prepared to combat one of Beckley’s most disconcerting trends — gun violence.
Last year Beckley had a total of seven gun homicides, and gun activities have increased in the past several months.
“I want to be aggressive in arresting and prosecuting criminals with drugs and reduce the amount of gun violence and violence in general for the City of Beckley,” he said.
During his first week as chief of detectives earlier this month, Beckley Police arrested a suspect in several drive-by shootings.
Montgomery added that gun violence very often goes hand in hand with drug addiction, something he knows well since serving most of his 18 years at the Beckley Police Department in the Drug Task Force.
Police Chief Tim Deems agreed that gun violence as well as burglary and many other crimes stem from drug problems and addiction.
“Gant has developed strong relationships within the prosecutor’s office and within the community during his time in the Drug Task Force, and that is what it takes to be able to get information and solves crimes,” Deems said.
“He has had a lot of experience conducting investigations and has been with the department 18 years. This will be a new challenge for him but I think he will do a great job,” Deems added.
Montgomery is a Fayette County native and received a bachelor’s in criminal justice from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
Once out of school, he started working as a uniformed police officer for the Beckley Police Department in 1994 and was moved to a then newly formed a multi-jurisdiction drug task force called TRIDENT.
He stayed with TRIDENT until Beckley formed their own drug unit and worked his way up to supervisor.
During his tenure, he has been at the front line of Beckley drug currents as they shifted from crack cocaine in the 1990s to prescription drugs and opiates over the past 5 or 6 years, he explained.
Recalling his work with the Beckley Narcotics Unit, Montgomery stated, “I think the guys and I have made a lot of good arrests for the City of Beckley. We have been really aggressive with drug enforcement and I’m sure we will continue to be.”
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