By Patrick Winderl
Havre police Capt. Mike Barthel was promoted to assistant chief of police Monday night.
"I'm ecstatic. It's a dream come true," Barthel said today. "My family is very excited."
The Havre City Council unanimously approved the promotion, retroactive to Jan. 1. Barthel had been acting assistant chief since the retirement of Mark Stolen on Dec. 31. Stolen had been Havre's assistant chief for two years, and a law enforcement officer for three decades.
"It is my pleasure to recommend the promotion," Police Chief Kevin Olson wrote in a letter to the City Council on Jan. 28. "Barthel has proven to be a valued member of the administrative staff of the Havre Police Department and I look forward to his service in his new role."
Barthel said the new appointment would not cause his duties to change significantly.
"I will speak on the chief's authority in his absence," he said. "I will continue to lead the department in investigations. That will pretty much be my sole responsibility."
Barthel said the Police Department would not appoint anyone to fill his old position.
"Essentially we are abolishing the captain position," he said.
Someone within the department will be promoted to second lieutenant, however, Barthel said. Eligible officers interested in the new position will be required to take a number of tests before a decision is made, he added.
The new appointment will be announced Mar. 1.
Barthel began working for the Havre Police Department 16 years ago, following his graduation from Dawson Community College in 1986. Barthel was raised in Glendive. He is married and has three daughters.
Between his family and his work, Barthel said he keeps busy.
"Once a month I go fishing," he said.
In other business Monday night, the City Council decided to keep the present meeting time of 8 p.m. Mayor Bob Rice had proposed changing the meeting time to 7 p.m.
"It was brought up for discussion, but we decided to leave it as it is," council member Tom Farnham said today.