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Montana Highway Patrol sergeant passes after battle with rare form of cancer

Sgt. Alex Betz
Posted at 2:28 PM, Jan 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-22 17:09:26-05

HELENA — The Montana Highway Patrol (MHP) has announced the passing of Sergeant Alex Betz on Jan. 16 after his battle with cancer.

Betz was a proud Montana veteran, serving over 20 years with the Montana National Guard. He was a qualified infantryman, holding both the Combat Infantry Badge and the Order of Saint George. His ranks with the National Guard included Tank Commander, Squad Leader and acting First Sergeant.

Betz joined MHP after graduating from the University of Montana. During his two decade career with MHP, he was well known as a mentor to new patrolmen and served as a field training officer for new troopers as they started their careers.

Sgt. Alex Betz
Sgt. Alex Betz

Last year MHP Cpt. Kurt Sager, who trained under Betz, told MTN Betz has always been a shining example of an MHP trooper.

“He is truly a servant,” said Sager in the 2020 interview. “His whole life has been about service. Whether it be military, highway patrol, friends, family, it’s what he does. He always thinks about everyone else above himself, and worried about how much of an inconvenience he might be.”

Betz was also well regarded by other first responders for his dedication to the people he served while wearing the badge.

“Trooper Betz is a genuine, humble person. He’s very caring and goes out of his way to help others, even if it’s a sacrifice to himself,” said Lewis and Clark County Assistant Chief David Hamilton in a 2020 interview. “It was always good to see Alex show up when we were in the middle of winter on a car wreck out somewhere and Alex would show up and he’d always get out of his car and have a smile on his face.”

Shortly before Christmas 2019 Betz was diagnosed with spindle cell sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.

Sgt. Betz after losing leg to cancer
Sgt. Betz after losing leg to cancer

Although the cancer cut his career short, took his leg and ultimately his life, MHP says it could not diminish his determination, his grit or the positive impact he left on many.

It can be difficult to fully quantify the impact a member of law enforcement has on their community. Betz prevented countless drunk drivers from endangering themselves or others and he helped rescue numerous stranded motorists. In 2019, MTN witnessed him help wrangle cattle in sub-zero temperatures and did so with a smile ear to ear.

In 2020 Betz told MTN it was his distinct honor to serve with MHP.

“I know sometimes there’s bad situations I’ve been in, but for the most part we’re just dealing with good people that may be having a bad day. I hope that maybe I’ve been able to help those folks. It’s been a pleasure, it’s been an honor to be able to serve. It really has,” said Betz in the 2020 interview.

Those that new Betz best said his most important job and the one he loved best was being a father.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made for Betz’s children, through “Trooper Betz Benefit” at First Interstate Bank in Helena.