Montana Department of Justice

Montana Law Enforcement Academy Graduates 57 New Officers

At a ceremony this morning, the Montana Law Enforcement Academy (MLEA) graduated 57 new officers who will serve various agencies across the state. The Montana Law Enforcement Academy is operated by the Montana Department of Justice, providing basic and advanced training for state, county, city and tribal law enforcement officers throughout the state.

The ceremony took place at the Gateway Center in Helena, and included remarks from Montana Attorney General Tim Fox, MLEA Training Officer Mike McCarthy, and the Class Representative for the 160th graduating class, Missoula County Sheriff Deputy Forrest Merrill.

“With drug crimes on the rise across the state, it’s critical that we have capable men and women serving as law enforcement officers in our communities. Today’s graduation provided our state with 57 additional highly trained officers that will be vital to combating the growing number of drug crimes in Montana,” said Montana Attorney General Tim Fox. “Not only are the officers here today assets to communities across the state, they are individuals who have chosen a noble career of public service, which we all should be thankful for. These graduates should be proud of what they’ve accomplished for themselves, and for the state of Montana.”

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

• Forrest S. Merrill 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.

• Chea N. Hollis received the Health and Physical Fitness Award, which is given to the officer(s) in each class who participates and excels in the Hard Rock Challenge and achieves the class’s best score in the Montana Physical Abilities Test.

• James E. Zabel received the Paul Williams Award, which is given to the officer in each class who has provided great 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.

• Brett C. Hilde received the Jack Wiseman Award, which is given to the officer in each class who is selected by his peers as the most outstanding officer. The officers of each class select the recipient by pondering two questions: 1) If you were a law enforcement agency administrator, who would you most want to hire? 2) If it were 2:00 am 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.

• Chea N. Hollis also received the Joe May Award, which is given to the office in each class who displays exceptional leadership and an incredible sense of 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.

• Colt L. Hicks received the Glenn Janes Award, which is given to the student in each class 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.

• Kaci M. Hansen 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.

• Dustin L. Stroble received the Josh Rutherford Award, which is given to the officer in each class 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.

• Dustin J. Sloan received the Alex Mavity Award, which is given to the student from each class 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.

• Billy Munoz received the Hal Vogelsang Award, which is given to the officer in each class who displays the highest degree of fidelity as determined by the 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.

• Steven N. Larson 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.

Roster of Class #160:

Bleazard, Taylor Lake County Sheriff’s Office
Cook, Kaedon Anaconda Police Department
Gifford, Mackenzie Montana Highway Patrol
Hansen, Kaci Bozeman Police Department
Hartsell, Douglass Missoula County Sheriff’s Office
Lamebull, Charles Ft. Belknap Law Enforcement
Marketon, Jessica Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office
Power, Eric Montana Highway Patrol
Rockwell, Kevin Billings Police Department
Vaile, Tylor Chippewa Cree Law Enforcement
Fehrenbach, Korren Lake County Sheriff’s Office
Kelsey, Kevin Great Falls Police Department
Knaff, Jessica Montana Highway Patrol
Merrill, Forrest Missoula County Sheriff’s Office
Redburn, Nicholas Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office
Richmond, Monte Montana Highway Patrol
Romero, Jayden Billings Police Department
Sullivan, Daniel Butte Silver Bow Law Enforcement
Zabel, James Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office
Hilde, Brett Billings Police Department
Hollis, Chea Missoula Police Department
Mills, Shawn Glendive Police Department
Munoz, Billy Montana Highway Patrol
Smith, Brandon Ronan Police Department
Smith, Jacob Great Falls Police Department
Stroble, Dustin Billings Police Department
Thompson, Evan Carbon County Sheriff’s Office
Weber, Paul Lewis & Clark County Sheriff’s Office
Whitlatch, Wes Montana Highway Patrol
Bennett, Brian Dawson County Sheriff’s Office
Cook, Hunter  Billings Police Department
Cotton, Rachel Havre Police Department
LaPlant, Misty Blackfeet Law Enforcement
Locklin, Brian Deer Lodge Police Department
Palen, Wade Montana Highway Patrol
Sloan, Dustin Miles City Police Department
Smith, Travis Cascade County Sheriff’s Office
Wilson, Mandy Missoula Police Department
Winn, Alec Madison County Sheriff’s Office
Augare, Shane Blackfeet Law Enforcement
Brown, Kathy Billings Police Department
Geher, Brandon Missoula Police Department
Harris, Joshua Cascade County Sheriff’s Office
Hicks, Colt Flathead County Sheriff’s Office
Kaarre, Randall Kalispell Police Department
Miller, Kelly Missoula International Airport
Nieman, Daniel Sidney Police Department
Pesola, Noah Montana Highway Patrol
DiGiovanna, Tyler Montana Highway Patrol
Guderian, Cara Great Falls Police Department
Larson, Steve Lake County Sheriff’s Office
Metcalf, Jess Toole County Sheriff’s Office
Pesola, Charles Flathead County Sheriff’s Office
Phipps, Bryan Montana Highway Patrol
Reyna, Chris Plains Police Department
Stratton, Scott Boulder Police Department
Weston, Seth Billings Police Department



Attorney General's Office & Legal Services Division

The Attorney General’s Office, headed by Attorney General Tim Fox, and the Legal Services Division function as the lawyers for the State of Montana. The attorneys in the Office have expertise in a wide range of legal topics and handle a broad range of legal cases involving the State of Montana and its people.


Children’s Justice Bureau

The Children’s Justice Bureau is an agency-wide initiative at the Montana Department of Justice dedicated to IMPROVING how we respond to child victims, DEVELOPING state-of-the-art approaches by keeping up with the newest research and, most importantly, HELPING child victims recover and move on with their lives.


Forensic Science Division & State Crime Lab

The mission of the Montana Forensic Science Division is to use operationally efficient and financially responsible practices as the laboratory provides accurate, objective, and timely forensic analyses to the criminal justice community in order to maximize value to the citizens of Montana.


Missing Persons Clearinghouse

The Missing Children Act of 1985 established a Montana Missing Persons Clearinghouse within the Department of Justice. In March 2008, the department implemented a searchable online database that, for the first time, is updated in real time and includes any photos provided by law enforcement.


Office of Victim Services

The goal of the Office of Victim Services is to provide tools and information to help crime victims recover from their experience and provide them with a range of services available. The criminal justice system can be confusing and intimidating for victims. To assist them as they go through the justice system, the Office of Victim Service is available to answer any questions they may have.


Central Services Division

The Montana Department of Justice’s Central Services Division provides financial and human resources support for the department. We make sure that everything works for the people Working for Justice. If you’re interested in a rewarding career helping protect the rights and safety of all Montanans, we invite you to join our team of over 800 dedicated employees working across the state.


Justice Information Technology Services Division

Our Justice Information Technology Services Division (JITSD) provides vital Information Technology (IT) infrastructure upon which Montanans and local and state law enforcement agencies rely for timely, accurate information. JITSD manages the IT systems, services, and interfaces to support nearly 800 DOJ employees, 325 statewide county motor vehicle system users, and over 3,000 Criminal Justice Information Network (CJIN) users across the state.


Division of Criminal Investigation

The Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) at the Montana Department of Justice is involved in many aspects of Montana law enforcement and is integral to the Department of Justice’s mission of promoting public safety.


Montana Highway Patrol

Montana is rich in natural beauty and history. From Glacier Park in the west to Makoshika Park in the east, the men and women of the Montana Highway Patrol are working hard to make your travels safe and enjoyable. The Highway Patrol’s core values are “Service, Integrity and Respect.” These values are reflected in our commitment to public safety through diligent and fair enforcement of our traffic codes.


Montana Law Enforcement Academy

The Montana Law Enforcement Academy is the premier law enforcement and public safety educational and training institution for state, county, city and tribal officers throughout the state. The Academy offers entry-level programs referred to as Basic Programs and advanced training through an array of Professional Development Programs.


Public Safety Officer Standards & Training

The Council was formed in 2007 under 2-15-2029, MCA as an independent Quasi-judicial board. And as allowed by statute the Council adopted Administrative Rules in order to implement the provisions of Title 44, chapter 4, part 4, MCA. Per 44-4-403, MCA the Council is required to set employment and training standards for all Public Safety Officers as defined in 44-4-401, MCA and in addition the Council shall provide for the certification or recertification of public safety officers and for the suspension or revocation of certification of public safety officers.


Motor Vehicle Division

The mission of the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) is to identify and promote efficient, cost-effective programs that benefit the interests, safety, and well-being of Montana citizens through licensing, registering, and regulating the motoring activities of the public. The MVD continuously strives for excellence in customer service. Streamlining the way we do business has allowed us to improve our efficiency and make our services more convenient for our customers.


Natural Resource Damage Program

The Natural Resource Damage Program (NRDP) was created in 1990 to prepare the state’s lawsuit against the Atlantic Richfield Co. (ARCO) for injuries to the natural resources in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin (UCFRB). Decades of mining and mineral processing operations in and around Butte and Anaconda released substantial quantities of hazardous substances into the Upper Clark Fork River Basin between Butte and Milltown. These hazardous substances extensively degraded the area’s natural resources.


Office of Consumer Protection

Enforce consumer laws designed to protect the consumer from unfair or deceptive business practices. Enforce statutes relating to telephone solicitation and telemarketing. Provide information to consumers about the Consumer Protection Act. Assist consumers by distributing consumer education materials including scam and consumer alerts. Investigate false, misleading, or deceptive trade practices.


Gambling Control Division

Through the Gambling Control Division, the Department of Justice regulates all forms of gambling in Montana, except for the Montana Lottery and horse racing. The legislature has charged the division with maintaining a uniform regulatory climate that is fair and free of corrupt influences. The division is also responsible for collecting gambling revenue for state and local governments.


Human Trafficking

The Montana Department of Justice has a continued commitment to victims of human trafficking. In partnership with federal authorities, our agency plays a key role in the investigation, enforcement, and prosecution of crimes related to human trafficking in Montana. This form of modern day slavery does happen here in Big Sky Country.


Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Program

Montana’s deadliest drugs aren’t made in secret labs and they don’t always come from dealers on the corner. They’re in our own medicine cabinets. Each year, prescription drug abuse contributes to the deaths of more than 300 Montanans — making prescription drug abuse 15 times more deadly than meth, heroin and cocaine combined. Our kids report the third-highest rate of prescription drug abuse in the country and more than half of them say prescription drugs are easier to get than street drugs.


Safe in Your Space

When it comes to embracing new technology, kids have rapidly outpaced their parents and teachers. By their early school years, many children are already more comfortable on the Internet than their parents. But just because children are smart enough to know how to navigate the Internet, doesn’t mean they have the experience to make good decisions about some of the possibilities they may face online.


Montana Sexual or Violent Offender Registry

Created by the Montana Department of Justice in 1989, the Sexual or Violent Offender Registry is a valuable resource for Montanans to protect their families against sexual or violent offenders.


Montana 24/7 Sobriety Program

Drinking and driving has been a chronic – and deadly — problem on Montana’s roadways for decades. In 2008, Montana was ranked as the deadliest state in the nation when it came to per capita DUI-related traffic fatalities.


Work for Justice

Everyday at The Montana Department of Justice, our employees are dedicated to ensuring the well-being and rights of the people of our great state. We’re passionate about what we do because it’s more than a job or a career. It’s about who we are as people. If this sounds like you, your unique experiences, knowledge, and values may be just what the Montana Department of Justice is looking for and needs. In return we can offer a culture that promotes fairness and growth opportunities.