Havre Daily News
Assistant Police Chief Mike Barthel was sworn in as police chief of Havre at a City Council meeting Monday night.
Police Lt. George Tate was sworn in as assistant police chief, and police Lt. Stan Martin was sworn in as captain.
Barthel, a 17-year veteran of the Havre Police Department, was one of four officers to apply for the position after Chief Kevin Olson resigned to take a job as administrator of the Montana Law Enforcement Academy. Barthel had been acting police chief since Olson's Feb. 27 departure.
Havre Mayor Bob Rice announced his decision Friday to promote Barthel to the job. The other applicants were Tate, Martin and police officer Terry Frandsen.
Rice said before the swearing-in ceremony that he took input from the community and police officers before deciding. He said he received phone calls from many people giving their opinion about who should be chief.
"I received more feedback about this appointment than anything that I have acted on as mayor," he said. "I decided that the best choice for the city of Havre for police chief was Mike Barthel."
The City Council approved each appointment 7-0.
Prior to Olson's departure, Tate and Martin were both lieutenants. After talking with Barthel, Tate and Martin, Rice said, he decided to eliminate the two lieutenants' positions and have one captain, a move that will save the city money.
When they were lieutenants, Tate supervised investigations and Martin supervised patrols.
After the meeting Tate said he will continue to do investigations, and that he does not anticipate his duties will change much beyond some additional administrative duties.
Martin said he will continue to supervise patrol officers, a job he said he enjoys.
"I'm shocked and overjoyed at the same time," Barthel said after the meeting. "I think every officer with any department dreams of sitting in that chief's chair."
Tate, who has been with the department 16 years, said the Havre Police Department is a young department, and that its members typically move on to higher-paying jobs in other cities in Montana after five years or less.
"This is a guy's career goal," he said. "This is why a guy like myself stays."
Martin, who also has worked for the department for 17 years, said he's happy with the mayor's decision and feels "no ill-will at all." He said he, Tate and Barthel have grown up in the department together.
"The three of us work together very well," he said. "I think that's going to be the best thing. We're all going to strive to make this place better."
City Council president Rick Pierson said after the meeting that he was pleased with the decision.
"Those three gentlemen will take the city of Havre police department's motto of to serve and protect to its highest level of integrity."
Pierson said Tate, Barthel and Martin helped his family five years ago after a crime was committed against a member of his family.
"I wish I could write a story about what those three men did for the Rick Pierson family," he said.
"Through their work they've taken somebody off the streets of Havre, Montana, that shouldn't be on the streets ... and it's a safer place to live," he said.
Also on Monday night, Nicholas Ost and Scott Riggin were named patrol officers in the department after completing their year of probationary status.