Kalispell Police Department hires new officers
The Kalispell Police Department recently welcomed two new officers into the department :- Chad Sweigart and Brady Gray.
They each have nearly a decade of law enforcement experience.
Many Flathead Valley residents may know Sweigart since he was a patrol officer and detective with the Columbia Falls Police Department for the last three years.
Sweigart lived in Pennsylvania before moving to Wyoming, then Southern California and returning to Wyoming. He graduated from the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy before serving as a patrol officer and detective in Cheyenne for six years.
Sweigart’s parents moved to the Flathead Valley about a decade ago, which is what partially drove him to want to be closer to them.
He completed the Montana Public Safety Officer Standards and Training course and went to work for Columbia Falls.
Sweigart said his experiences in law enforcement have been similar, no matter where he’s been.
“Drug and excessive alcohol use create a lot of problems,” Sweigart said. “They result in a lot of domestic abuse cases and thefts.”
Sweigart, who married in 2017, is happy to be in his new department and still finds it rewarding.
“KPD is a busy department and I became interested in working here as I got to know some of their officers from investigations I was working on at Columbia Falls,” Sweigart said. “Helping people and trying to better someone’s life is a pretty good feeling.”
For Gray, she may be just 25 years old, but she’s not a newcomer to the field.
The Cut Bank native said she always wanted to be in law enforcement and she entered the U.S. National Guard at the age of 17, becoming a Military Police officer while in the service.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Gray said. “It’s not anything anyone in my family ever did, but I always had the interest from an early age.”
While Gray was in the service, she was deployed twice to Afghanistan. In her first tour of duty, she worked with Afghan police and also on quick-response missions, which are activated as a rapid response to developing critical situations. Her team also worked with the Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit that was responsible for dealing with improvised explosive devices.
Gray’s second tour took her to Northern Afghanistan where she worked as a MP investigator. After returning home, she worked for the Helena Police Department for nearly three years before making it to the Flathead.
“It’s been a very fulfilling career and I’m extremely happy to be closer to home,” Gray said. “Growing up, we spent a lot of time in Glacier (National Park) and summers in Kalispell, so it feels like home,” Gray said. “There is also less violent crime here than what goes on in Helena.”
Both officers are on patrol and want to work in investigations in the future.
KPD Interim Chief Wade Rademacher has been pleased so far with his new officers.
“Both came highly recommended, both as officers and people,” Rademacher said. “I am also getting great feedback on their performances so far.”
Reporter Scott Shindledecker may be reached at 406-758-4441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.