March is Women’s History Month- a time in which we celebrate and recognize the achievements and contributions of women in our society. The Montana Highway Patrol is fortunate to employ some wonderful women who serve their communities with pride and distinction in the typically male-dominated field of law enforcement. Each week throughout the month of March, we will be featuring a profile of some of these remarkable women of the Montana Highway Patrol.
Name: Trooper Kate Johnson
Station Assignment: Belt, MT.
Specialized Training/ Education:
SFST Instructor – ARIDE Certified
Firearms Instructor – Female!
Child Safety Seat Technician
Why did you choose a career in law enforcement?
I happened into this profession on accident. After graduating college in Minnesota with a Recreation and Tourism degree, I went to work for the National Park Service. Quickly, my love of the outdoors dwindled. Days were spent exhausting myself to protect the very resource I loved. I would come home not wanting to hike, fish or camp. Knowing I needed a change but wanting to stay out west, Montana seemed like a great place to call home. The Montana Highway Patrol was actively recruiting Troopers. I applied and was hired. I enjoy working the road and interacting with people residing and traveling through our great state but more importantly, I LOVE spending my time off work exploring Montana’s wilderness with my family.
What would you say to a woman considering a career in law enforcement?
Don’ t ever let anything, gender included, keep you from pursuing a dream. This job is 100% dependent on what you make it out to be. We are given a duty belt full of resources and endless training. If you are self-motivated, enjoy interacting with the public and want to promote community safety, consider giving the law enforcement profession a chance. No two days are ever the same in this job. We get to start and end our shifts in our driveways. I spend my days interacting with Montana’s motoring public advocating for safety and looking out my patrol car window at the beauty Montana offers.
What is your proudest accomplishment as a state trooper?
Montana Highway Patrol was awarded a federal grant in 2020. The grant funding allowed MHP to get a licensed counselor on staff and will bring crisis intervention training to every trooper. I played a key role in writing the grant and receiving the award was a huge accomplishment. Knowing my fellow troopers will be taught skills like resiliency, mindfulness and to identify when to seek help following a critical incident is reassuring. We all signed up to be State Troopers but sometimes we respond to calls that may linger with us for a lifetime. Working to process through these difficult calls is key to a long, happy, and healthy career and retirement.
Anything else you would like people to know about being a woman in law enforcement?
Clinical therapist, emergency medical technicians, dermatology, military, and ranch hand work are some of the backgrounds currently making up MHP’s female force. These diverse experiences combined with our individual upbringings allow us to bring different perspectives to the citizens we serve.
Women like Marie Owens and Josephine Serrano paved the way for many women to enter this career field. Because of them, the female presence is glaring among law enforcement agencies across the nation and world. Almost weekly I am reminded by the public of this. It’s common to end a traffic stop with a driver stating, ‘It’s nice to see lady Troopers.” Comments like this always bring a smile to my face and remind me how important it is for us to keep progressing forward in this profession. It’s an honor to serve Montana’s motoring public and I welcome others to join this great agency!