Montana Law Enforcement Academy Graduates 60 New Officers
At a ceremony this morning, the Montana Law Enforcement Academy (MLEA) graduated 60 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 MLEA Administrator Glen Stinar, MLEA Training Officer Jeff Wilson, and class representative Alexandra Schwier of the Helena Police Department. Montana Supreme Court Justice James Shea administered the oath of office.
“The call to public service in law enforcement, the call to one of the noblest professions in our society, is not an easy one to answer—but you answered it,” Attorney General Tim Fox told the graduates. “When you applied to your agency, you sought a profession that others do not seek. When you begin your duties, you will be the person who runs toward danger while others run away from it.”
Attorney General Fox also delivered a personal message from Lindsey Palmer, wife of Highway Patrol Trooper Wade Palmer: “Congratulations on your academy graduation today, and beginning the next chapter of your lives. Welcome to the best blue family I know; you all couldn’t have joined a better law enforcement community.”
Several of the graduates received awards for their performance during training:
Alexandra Schwier of the Helena Police Department 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.
Tanner Thompson of the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office 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.
Joshua Marceau of Blackfeet Law Enforcement 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.
Tara Oster of the Kalispell Police Department 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:
1) If you were a law enforcement agency administrator, who would you most want to hire?
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.
James Cookman of the Rosebud County Sheriff’s Office 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.
Brian Abel of the Billings Police Department received the Glenn Janes Award, which is given to the student 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.
Taylor Crouch of Great Falls Police Department 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.
Megan Coleman of the Helena Police Department received the Josh Rutherford Award, which is given to the officer 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.
Tara Oster of the Kalispell Police Department 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.
Megan Coleman of the Helena Police Department 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.
Joshua Whaley of the Sweetgrass County Sheriff’s Office 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.
The roster of Class #167 is available here.