MHP Col. Bert Obert Named to Homeland Security Airport Post
HELENA – Montana Attorney General Mike McGrath said Tuesday that Montana Highway Patrol Col. Bert Obert has been named deputy transportation security director for the Bozeman Airport. Obert, who has been chief of the Patrol since June 1999, will begin working for the U.S. Department of Transportation later this month.
“The Patrol’s loss is most certainly a huge gain for air travelers,” McGrath said. “Bert genuinely cares about the safety of Montana citizens, and I know he will dedicate himself to that end whether they are on the road or in the air.”
During his time as chief, Obert focused on ways to improve officer efficiency by using new technology. By securing federal grants, under Obert, the Patrol was able to:
- install video cameras in every Patrol car,
- initiate a fully automated central dispatch and records management system in Helena to serve the entire Patrol as well as enhance other public safety entities, and
- provide mobile computers that allow Patrol officers to access criminal records and databases, and work on reports from their patrol cars.
“The Montana Highway Patrol continues to be a highly respected, very professional organization,” McGrath said. “The Patrol has the highest morale today that it has had in years, largely because of Col. Obert’s outstanding leadership.”
McGrath said he is interviewing candidates and expects to name a new chief within the next two weeks.
“Leaving the Patrol will be the hardest life change I’ve ever had to make,” Obert said. “I, like all chiefs before me, truly hope all Montanans begin to see that traffic deaths and destruction are something we can change. If we did just two things – if we made seatbelt violations a primary offense and got really serious about alcohol-related offenses – we would definitely save lives.”
Obert joined the Patrol in 1978 and worked as a Patrol officer until 1987, when he was promoted to sergeant and served as a detachment commander in Butte. He was promoted to lieutenant in May 1990 and served as an assistant district commander in both Glendive and later in Billings before being promoted to captain in June 1994 and serving as commander of the Glendive district. Obert was later promoted the MHP Field Forces Commander when then-Attorney General Joe Mazurek named him chief.
Obert is a Montana native from Belfry and began his career in law enforcement in 1974, when he worked as a dispatcher for the Prairie County Sheriff’s Department. Prior to joining the Patrol, he worked in local law enforcement in Bowman, North Dakota, and Red Lodge.