Three GFPD officers finalists for chief; city attorney retiring in September

The field of candidates to succeed Dave Bowen, who retired April 2, as chief of the Great Falls Police Department has been narrowed to three.

There were initially five internal candidates and City Manager Greg Doyon said during the April 6 City Commission meeting that he was advancing Capt. Rob Moccasin, Capt. Jeff Newton and Lt. Doug Otto to the next phase of the process.

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The process will include three panels, Doyon said, one of city department heads, one of representatives from the city’s nine Neighborhood Councils and one community panel that is “reflective of the people who reside here in the community.”

Bowen announced his retirement in January.

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Doyon interviewed the initial five candidates with Chuck Anderson, deputy city manager, to narrow the field to three and once the interview panels are completed, Doyon and Anderson will interview the candidates again.

In late March, Doyon appointed Moccasin as the interim chief.

Moccasin, a 27 year veteran of the department, currently serves as captain of the Support Services Bureau.

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As head of the Support Services Bureau, Moccasin oversees hiring, special projects, training, volunteers, warrants, Great Falls Housing Authority, law related education, animal control, community policing, and a civilian process server.

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Moccasin joined GFPD in 1994, after previously serving at the Glendive PD. Moccasin graduated from the 261st session of the FBI National Academy and is also a graduate of the FBI Intermountain Command College, according to GFPD.

Newton currently supervises the Investigative Bureau, which consists of 23 sworn officers and one civilian, according to the city.

He joined the Kalispell Police Department in 1993, then worked for the King County Sheriff’s Office in Seattle before joining GFPD in 1999 and has held many positions within the department. He’s a graduate of Montana State University and has a masters from the University of Great Falls. He’s a graduate of the 255th session of the FBI National Academy and is also a graduate of the FBI Intermountain Command College, according to GFPD.

Otto is currently the public information officer for GFPD and recently retired from the Montana Air National Guard where he had served as the command chief since 2018.

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City Attorney Sara Sexe has also announced her retirement and she’ll be leaving the city in September.

Sexe has been the city attorney since May 2013 and Doyon said the city would begin the recruitment process immediately since in the past it’s taken some time to fill the position.

He said the most obvious option is to recruit a licensed attorney in Montana and the city will conduct an external recruitment process.

Sexe is a Great Falls native and graduated from C.M. Russell High School and the University of Montana School of Law. She was in private practice before coming to the city.