Highway Patrol Retires the Badge of Trooper Richard Hedstrom
HELENA – In a presentation Monday in Great Falls, the Montana Highway Patrol retired badge 307 in honor of the late Richard Hedstrom.
The ceremony and the retirement of the badge come more than 30 years after Hedstrom died after being hit by a drunk driver about two miles south of Kalispell. Around 1:30 in the morning on July 19, 1973, while issuing a warning ticket for a burned-out headlight, Hedstrom was struck and killed by a pickup that was clocked at more than 85 miles per hour. The pickup rolled, and its driver also died at the scene.
Hedstrom, then 24, was less than three weeks into his “break-in” assignment when the crash happened.
At the time, Hedstrom was the third Highway Patrol officer to die in the line of duty. In its 71-year history, four troopers – Bob Steele, James Anderson, Michael Ren and Hedstrom – have died while on the job.
Since 1974 the MHP has given the Hedstrom Award for service above and beyond the call of duty. Still, Hedstrom remained the only one of the four troopers not to have his badge retired.
“No one really knows why Trooper Hedstrom’s badge was never retired,” said MHP Col. Paul Grimstad. “In any case, this is long overdue.”
The presentation took place in conjunction with the annual observation of National Peace Officers Memorial Day.