Montana Law Enforcement Academy Graduates 24 New Officers

At a ceremony this morning, the Montana Law Enforcement Academy (MLEA) graduated 24 new officers who will serve various agencies across the state. The Academy is operated by the Montana Department of Justice; it provides basic and advanced training for state, county, city and tribal law enforcement officers throughout the state.

The ceremony took place at the Civic Center in Helena, and included remarks from Assistant Attorney General David Ortley, MLEA Administrator Glen Stinar, Montana Highway Patrol Sgt. Justin Braun, and class representative Deputy Reece Power of the Custer County Sheriff’s Office. Montana Supreme Court Justice Beth Baker administered the oath of office.

In addressing the class, Assistant Attorney General David Ortley, a former police officer himself, said, “Law enforcement in this country is at a crossroads. You are the graduates of today, but you will soon be the supervisors and administrators of tomorrow. It is up to you and your generation of law enforcement officers to see that the profession evolves to meet the legitimate expectations of society in the 21st century. Your badge alone is not enough. It is up to you to police in a procedurally just way. The legitimacy of, and trust in, your badge and the profession you have chosen depends upon it.”

Several of the graduates received awards for their performance during training:

• Reece Power 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.

• Wyatt Duncan 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.

• Reece Power 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.

• Ryan Zarske 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:

o 1) If you were a law enforcement agency administrator, who would you most want to hire?
o 2) If it were 2:00 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.

• Reece Power also 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.

• Thomas Clawson 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.

• Thomas Clawson 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.

• Ryan Zarske also 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.

The roster of Class #169 is available here.

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