HELENA – In this week’s Salute the Badge, we recognize the 55 new law enforcement officers that graduated Friday in Helena who will service various agencies across the state.
The ceremony included remarks from Bryan Lockerby, Administrator of the Montana Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation, whose law enforcement career spans 36 years.
In addressing the class, Lockerby highlighted advancements in training and equipment available to Friday’s graduates.
“You enter the law enforcement world with higher levels of education, more intensive police academy training, and resources at your fingertips we could never have imagined just a few decades ago,” Lockerby said. “You are entering a complicated world that is expecting much of you, and I commend your willingness to do something so extraordinary,” Lockerby added.
Montana Supreme Court Justice James Rice administered the oath of office.
Several of the graduates received awards for their performance during training:
- Jake Barzen received the Don Williams Award, which is given to the officer elected by the class as Class Representative. The award is given in memory of Thompson Falls Police Chief Don Williams, who was killed in the line of duty in 1974.
- Jake Barzen also received the Health and Physical Fitness Award, which is given to the officer who participates and excels in the Hard Rock Challenge and achieves the class’s best score in the Montana Physical Abilities Test.
- Jake Barzen also received the Paul Williams Award, which is given to the officer who provided inspiration to the staff and students through a display of unwavering dedication and determination. The award is given in memory of the late Chouteau County Sheriff Paul Williams.
- Christopher Duke received the Jack Wiseman Award, which is given to the officer selected by his/her peers as the most outstanding officer. The officers of each class select the recipient by considering two questions:
(1) If you were a law enforcement agency administrator, who would you most want to hire? (2) If it were 2 a.m. and things were going bad quickly, who would you most want to know was coming to help you? The award is given in tribute to Jack Wiseman, who served as a training officer and commander at the Montana Law Enforcement Academy for more than 22 years.
- Christopher Benson received the Joe May Award, which is given to the officer who displays exceptional leadership and motivation. The award is given in honor of the late Joe May, one of the people credited with the conception and creation of the Montana Law Enforcement Academy.
- Tyler Woods received the Glenn Janes Award, which is given to the student who demonstrates the highest level of proficiency in the Police Vehicle Operation Course. The award is given in memory of the late Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Glenn Janes, who served as a driving instructor at the Montana Law Enforcement Academy.
- Christopher Benson also received the Jimmy Kaaro award, which is given to the officer who achieves the highest level of academic standing in each class. The award is given in honor of retired Fergus County Sheriff Jimmy Kaaro.
- Kilee Bartschi received the Josh Rutherford Award, which is given to the officer who achieves the highest scores in defensive tactics. The award is given in memory of Blaine County Deputy Sheriff Josh Rutherford, who was a defensive tactics instructor with the Montana Law Enforcement Academy when he lost his life in the line of duty in 2003.
- Kilee Bartschi also received the Alex Mavity Award, which is given to the student who achieves the highest accumulated score on all academic and skills-based training. The award is given in honor of Billings Police Department Detective Alex Mavity, who was killed in the line of duty in 1989.
- T’Elle Evans received the Hal Vogelsang Award, which is given to the officer who displays the highest degree of fidelity as determined by Academy staff. The recipient has demonstrated exceptional qualities of honor, pride, integrity, duty, loyalty, and service to not only the class, but the staff and entire profession. The award is given in honor of Hal Vogelsang, who served as an FBI special agent for more than 36 years, and as a training officer at the Montana Law Enforcement Academy for more than 25 years.
- Christopher Duke also received the Allen Kimery Award, which is given in recognition of outstanding marksmanship and the class’s highest ranking in firearms training through marksmanship, safety, and tactical proficiency. The award is given in memory of Missoula County Sheriff Deputy Allen Kimery, who was killed in the line of duty in 1984.
Here is the complete list of graduates and their initial assignments:
Keith Tarrant Bert Mooney Airport
Justin Prindle Billings Police Department
Jacob Grommes Billings Police Department
Lance Weber Billings Police Department
Elizabeth Chaffin Billings Police Department
Jordan Grimsrud Boulder Police Department
Braden Peterson Bozeman Police Department
Donald Lewis Butte Silver Bow Law Enforcement
Stephen Horn Cascade CO Sheriff’s Office
Brandon Rice Columbia Falls Police Department
Elijah Katchur Cut Bank Police Department
Jordan Arthur Deer Lodge Police Department
Michael Martinez Deer Lodge Police Department
Darrin Wise Flathead CO Sheriff’s Office
Desmond Joseph Flathead Tribal Police Department
Jace Johnson Ft. Belknap Law Enforcement
William Prichard Ft. Peck Tribes Law Enforcement
Edward Kingman Gallatin CO Sheriff’s Office
Alexander Geissler Gallatin CO Sheriff’s Office
Anthony Formell Great Falls Police Department
Christopher Brown Great Falls Police Department
Jessica Cornell Helena Police Department
James Coppola Lewis & Clark CO Sheriff’s Office
Joseph Wirtz Lewistown Police Department
Josh Edison Missoula CO Sheriff’s Office
Kyle Ferris Missoula Police Department
Sean McLean Missoula Police Department
Casey Harvey Missoula Police Department
Kilee Bartschi Missoula Police Department
Tyler Woods Missoula Police Department
Taylor Dodd Motor Carrier Services
Meghan Stevens Motor Carrier Services
Tammy Livingston Motor Carrier Services
Dan Wildin Motor Carrier Services
Josh Falkos MSU Police Department
Clay Vines MT Dept. of Livestock
Willie Miller MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks
Haden Hussey MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks
Sydney Young MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks
Jake Barzen MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks
T’Elle Evans MT Highway Patrol
Taylor Gagnon MT Highway Patrol
Eric Gardner MT Highway Patrol
Jacob Ayers MT Highway Patrol
Cade Hill MT Highway Patrol
Christopher Benson MT Highway Patrol
Brennen Plucker MT Highway Patrol
Sam Eccles MT Highway Patrol
Isabel Weaver MT Highway Patrol
Brandon Ayers Powell CO Sheriff’s Office
Daryl Petz Ravalli CO Sheriff’s Office
Grant Wise Richland CO Sheriff’s Office
Travern Smith Toole CO Sheriff’s Office
Scott Deklyen Treasure CO Sheriff’s Office
Chris Duke Whitefish Police Department