By Ross Markman
Retired Montana Highway Patrol officer Terry Stoppa has filed for the nonpartisan position of county justice of the peace.
Stoppa's competition thus far is Ramon "Ray" Bergh, a 38-year Hill County resident who filed for the position earlier this week. Incumbent Justice of the Peace Carol Chagnon has not filed.
"I just don't know yet," Chagnon said of filing for the position. "I have until the 21st to decide."
Justice of the peace candidates will appear on the ballot in the June 4 primary election.
Stoppa, 56, has 32 years of law enforcement experience, including four in the U.S. Air Force as a police officer and 26 years as a Montana Highway Patrol officer. A Havre resident of 29 years, Stoppa was also sheriff of Liberty County for one year.
For the last two years, he has worked as a materials lab technician for the Montana Department of Transportation
"I've been giving this considerable thought the last three or four years. This would be the next step in a career in this line of work," Stoppa said.
"I'm looking forward to the opportunity to help Hill County and the community of Havre in furthering justice," he added. "I feel I can make some very valuable contributions to the community."
Stoppa graduated high school in his native Michigan, where he then attended Alpena Community College for two years. He's also a graduate of the Montana Highway Patrol Academy in Bozeman, and has completed courses in supervision and management.
Stoppa is married and the father of three grown children, all of whom attended Havre Public Schools.
"I just want to do the best job I can. And I think I can do an honest and fair job," he said.