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January 19, 2010

Former Highway Patrol Chief Robert Griffith Dies

HELENA – Attorney General Steve Bullock on Tuesday acknowledged the public service of former Montana Highway Patrol Colonel Robert J. Griffith, who died Sunday at 80.

“People who worked with ‘Griff’ remember him as a strong advocate for the Patrol,” Bullock said. “As colonel, he had an unwavering respect for and appreciation of the officers he commanded and the often dangerous work they did.”

Griffith was sworn in on April 1, 1954, after attending the Patrol’s eighth Montana Highway Patrol Academy in 1953. At that time, the Patrol had only 90 officers. He served as an officer until February 1962, when he was promoted to sergeant. In May 1970, he was promoted to the rank of captain and, in 1977, to major.

After serving as acting chief from 1980 to 1981, on March 8, 1989, then Attorney General Marc Racicot appointed him as the Patrol’s Chief Administrator. Colonel Griffith became the Patrol’s 11th chief in the agency’s 54-year history.

“Colonel Griffith’s long and successful career is something we can all be proud of. Today’s troopers maintain a tradition of public service that people like Bob Griffith helped create,” Colonel Mike Tooley said.

Colonel Griffith continued as Chief of the Montana Highway Patrol under Attorney General Joe Mazurek. He retired with 40 years of service on March 31, 1994.

The MHP, Montana’s largest law enforcement agency, has over 200 troopers and 70 civilian employees. It is the largest division of the Montana Department of Justice.