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Missoula downtown police officer recognized for helping the homeless

Posted at 2:41 PM, Jan 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-30 16:41:36-05

The Missoula Downtown Association recently awarded six people earlier for their role in shaping the downtown area.

One of the winners is Missoula Police Officer Randy Krastel who has been with the department for almost 16 years.

"I've seen him at the marathon thing, and Cara's Park, all over town," Jon Konkey said about Krastel. "He's always been a pretty friendly guy."

In 2018, he took over for the business improvement district in downtown, where he helps people experiencing homelessness.

"I think it's my job to make sure that wherever they're going, that they have a leg up, they have a fighting chance at surviving, and a better life," said Krastel.

As well as responding to calls, he has helped people with bus vouchers -- and once gave a man a ride to St. Regis.

Krastel said that while working with the homeless he comes across a lot of people who don't plan on staying in Missoula.

"They just feel like they're stuck, they have no way of leaving," said Krastel. "So that's where my niche is, is to try and find out where they're supposed to be, and get them to that location. Get them home."

Stephen Bradley is a US Navy veteran that had to spend two weeks at the Poverello Center after losing his job and apartment.

"Fortunately there's a lot of good people out there who are more than willing to help."

Bradley said Officer Krastel almost like a brother. "He's a great guy."

Krastel contacts people's families and jobs to get them back on their feet -- and that's why he won this year's Downtown Employee of the year award.

Krastel said it's nice to be recognized, but that's not why he does what he does. At the end of the day, he said his main goal is to help people get home, wherever that may be.