DOJ: News Release

Nineteen Highway Patrol Recruits Graduate

HELENA – Nineteen students graduated Friday from the 39th Montana Highway Patrol Recruit Academy, after 14½ weeks of training designed to prepare them for a career with the Patrol.

Fourteen of the graduates will be sworn in on July 9, to fill existing vacancies in the Highway Patrol ranks.

“We’re confident that our recruitment and selection process has given us some of the best candidates for officers available in today’s job market,” Montana Highway Patrol Col. Bert Obert said during the graduation ceremony. “It takes a special person to be a law enforcement officer. When there’s trouble, we’re knights in shining armor to some and cursed by others. Officers have to be able to deal with the situation, take the criticism and then do it all over again the next day.”

The recruits began their training March 21 at the Montana Law Enforcement Academy in Helena. They completed 560 hours of training that is designed to prepare them for a variety of highway traffic-related duties. Before they are assigned to a permanent position with the Patrol, they will complete an additional eight weeks of training with another officer in the field.

Four graduates will receive awards on Monday based on their performance during training. Karen Plessas of Billings will receive the Academic Award and Josef Kinsey of Great Falls will receive the Physical Fitness Award. Shawn Fowler of Big Timber won both the Firearms Award and the Camp Commander Award, which is given for overall performance.



Lath S. Keith

Big Timber

Shawn N. Fowler


Karen O. Plessas

Richard W. Starks

John N. Stewart


Michael L. Briggs

Grass Range

S. Shane Cox

Great Falls

John P. Hackwith

Josef R. Kinsey


Frank C. Oliver


Mitchell W. Voss


Joshua T. Brown

Miles City

James M. Sanderson


Chad L. Dever

Christopher L. Harris

Douglas B. Hartsell

Red Lodge

Jason R. Orthman

Out of State

William S. Ahlfeldt

Scott F. Bennett

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