Did You Know Series: Why Experience Matters


Jeff Faycosh while working a cold case involving the abduction and deaths of 4 young females (only evidence of 3 bodies were found). He interviewed serial killer Ottis Toole who confessed to Faycosh that he killed Adam Walsh but not these children. Faycosh was able to place Toole and his partner Henry Lucas in Wyoming. Faycosh was involved in presentations in Wyoming and Nebraska on Toole and Lucas who probably killed over 100 people nationwide.


In my career I wore many hats. I have been a city Police Officer, Deputy Sheriff, Undersheriff, State Agent, Special Investigator for a District Attorney, sworn as a special Federal Officer and sworn as a special commissioned officer with the Aaska State Troopers.

As Undersheriff for a county very similar in population to Custer County. We went from a 13 bed jail to a brand new 60 plus bed jail. I conducted all major crime investigations including a 4 county drug task force. I worked closely with building a team with the city police. I obtained grants for equipment and formed a major crimes unit with the SO and PD. I was able through grants to purchase an alternate light source that duplicates various laser wave lengths to process crimes scenes for trace evidence. We were the smallest agency in the US to have this equipment. During an approximately 20 month time span we had several homicides. I had trained a core group of deputies and officers in crime scene management, evidence collection and investigative techniques. This was a true force multiplier regardless of where the crime scene was both agencies responded. I was and still am very proud of the way two small departments came together to serve the community as a whole. I also formed a special response team with these two agencies for tactical responses in the area.

I know the jobs of city officers and county officers. I know the demands of running a jail and how courts can place extra burdens on the jail.


What have I done for Custer County is a common question.

Volunteer...Hunter Education in Custer County for 16 years. 25 to 60 of your children a year (400 to 960) I instructed on safe firearm handling and hunting ethics. Do you remember the many evening classes before Hunter Ed took place on a single weekend? Those were brutal on the kids and instructors. Who pushed for weekend only classes and got them arranged......yep....Me.

Only a few of the highlights......

In 1995 a very brutal multiple homicide occurred in rural Custer County. I was part of the DCI team dispatched to assist in interviews and evidence collection.

When an escape occurred in Custer County from the jail. I stayed out and searched for over 50 hours.

When a homicide suspect was tentatively located. At the request of the SO I formed a make shift team of two guys that had previously done tactical entries while working for me (Dan Baker and Dan Davis) along with FWP Warden Todd Anderson. We approached the suspect location via helicopter and located the suspect.

While on holiday vacation and near Omaha NE I got a call that my team in Miles City had located a methamphetamine laboratory (actually 2 of them). I drove 12 hours back to Miles City served two search warrants on two houses and one a vehicle. Nearly 40 hours after receiving the phone call in Nebraska I was able to get home and rest. Needless to say that holiday vacation was ruined.

So yes I haven't lived in Miles City all my life....I have given considerably to the citizens of Miles City.


Regardless of the court system, evidence of criminal activity must be obtained in accordance with the US and State Constitutions as well as applicable statutes. Most commonly law enforcement must obtain court orders in the form of Search Warrants. The officers must articulate the facts and circumstances in an affidavit which establishes "probable cause". The officer then appears before a judge (Justice of the Peace, District Judge or City Judge) and swears to the truthfulness and accuracy of the information. The Judge then issues a warrant to collect or obtain the evidence.

I have developed and presented a training course of how to articulate probable cause and the procedures for obtaining a search warrant, proper service of the search warrant including filing and evidence collection. I have trained Judges at their conference. I have trained County Attorneys and law enforcement throughout the state of Montana.

I have authored and reviewed several hundred search warrants in my career.

Experience Matters.....especially at 2am.....when crimes ocurr. I am always ready, prepared and familiar with the process.


At one point in my career I was going to leave law enforcement. 

I started a dog training kennel part-time. I ran dogs on the UKC Hunter Retriever circuit and I was a finish class judge. However I couldn't leave my career in law enforcement despite having client dogs booked for future training.

I am an avid hunter, shooter and fisherman. I am a certified firearms trainer for law enforcement and have been for over 20 years. I have introduced many people to hunting, fishing and shooting sports.

When I got Moose in 2007 I showed him at dog shows where he earned his champion AKC title. It was fun and the movie "Best in Show" comments from friends were never ending. 

I raised Polypay sheep and had milk goats. In my early 50's I went to sheep shearing school with the goal of shearing my own 30+ head flock, which I accomplished. I also learned I enjoyed the hard work and comaradery of at producers. But I should have started shearing when I was younger.


All court systems from Justice of the Peace through US District Court (Federal Court) have similar rules of evidence and specific procedures. Appeals from these courts can go to the MT Supreme court or US Supreme Court.

A majority (over 50%) of court hearings don't deal with guilt or innocence they deal with search and seizure, to ensure evidence was properly seized. Knowledge of police procedure, and current case law is required by the Judge hearing the case. Research ability and attention to detail is paramount.

I have testified and presented evidence in all of the court systems. I have testified in State and Federal Court as an expert witness (which means my opinion of the interpretation of evidence is allowed to be heard by a Jury or Judge). I have had my investigations appealed to the Montana Supreme Court which resulted in favorable case law establishing certain investigative practices be followed statewide in the collection of evidence.


My parents moved to Miles City in 2003. Unfortunately mom was is Friendship Villa because of her advanced Alzheimer's. Dad lived at home with us. Dad appreciated Miles City and enjoyed the friendly people. He reminded me one day about spreading his ashes at their special pace in the Big Horns. Then he said you know I like Miles City, you could just chuck my ashes out anywhere around here.

In 2004 Dad had aneurysm while I was elk hunting. Luckily I stuck to my hunting trip plan and FWP and Garfield SO tracked me down. I got back to spend a day with him at HRH before he passed. They were married over 50 years. 

Mom didn't fully understand that Dad had died. A few days after Dad died I was visiting Mom. I used to visit her 2 to 3 times a day while she was in the Villa. I came in her room and she handed me a copy of the paper. Mom said "Look honey there is a nice article about your dad in the paper"  Alzheimer's is horrible but it was probably in this instance easier on her. If she had know reality it would have torn her up. So there are silver linings. Mom slipped into a coma in 2005 almost exactly one year to the day Dad passed.

We honored their wishes and their ashes were combined and scattered at their special place in the Big Horns. With some in Custer County too.

I miss them everyday.


Patriotism ran very strong and still does in my family.

Both of my grandfathers were legal immigrants. My parents were the first generation born in America. My father was a WWII Navy veteran, my Uncle was on the USS Pennsylvania during the Pearl Harbor attack and throughout the war. My brother is a Vietnam Veteran. I grew up in a very patriotic time period.

All of my flag waving/pledge of allegiance post are heart felt and genuine. I believe in God Bless America and we are still the greatest country in the world. If any of that offends you I don't want your vote.

I am and always will be a proud American.

Rule #1
Never write these ditties down without the proper reflection and proofreading. Never overlook those who have supported and sacrifice throughout my career. I may be a great Justice of the Peace candidate but I won't get a Father of the Day award. I neglected to say both of my son's enlisted and served in the US Army. I love them dearly and apologize for not listing their service.


We all enter law enforcement and public service for a variety of reasons. Both my grandfather and his brother were constables for a time. My grandfather was also a city magistrate. 

In June of 1961 my father found the body of his coworker and friend Otto Ziegler. Otto had stopped to help two young men who appeared to have car trouble. They killed Otto. They were James Latham and George York who were on a nationwide killing spree. They were caught by an officer who would not give up the pursuit. My dad Joe Faycosh testified at their trial in November 1961. They were hanged in June 1965. The last execution in the state of Kansas.

We were always taught not to pick up hitchhikers because of this.

My brother went on to Wyoming Highway Patrol inspired by the officer who chase York and Latham down.

I went onto appreciate the forensics and details of criminal investigations.


Unless you are involved in the Criminal Justice field or have been impacted by crime, most people don't understand the sequence of getting a crime prosecuted.

Reviewing and issuing Search Warrants are only part of the job of the Justice of the Peace. However in all instances when evidence is seized pursuant to a Search Warrant, that warrant and the included affidavit from the investigator will be examined in detail during subsequent hearings and appeals. 

If a basic mistake is made by the judge and not caught all evidence seized under the warrant and evidence seized further on in the investigation from information obtained during the service of the search warrant can be excluded from use at trial. For instance if officers obtain a search warrant for evidence of an assault and the warrant is faulty, and the victim subsequently dies....it is possible that none of the evidence seized under the warrant can be used against the suspect. They could actually walk free because of the error of the Justice of the Peace.

There are no penalties levied against the judge. The Justice of the Peace continues to stay in office for the length of their term. The victim is still dead, the suspect free and the community suffers from the inexperience of the elected Justice of the Peace.

I have reviewed and authored several hundred Search Warrants and related documents on complex investigations. I know the common errors, I know how to objectively review the information contained. I would hold law enforcement to a high standard to ensure the citizens of Custer County are properly served and protected by the criminal justice system.


A large percentage of cases in Justice of the Peace Court are Civil cases. That means someone is suing someone else.

Once a decision is made in Justice Court an appeal may be filed in District Court. Pursuant to statute the case is tried all over again in District Court. That causes double the cost of time, witnesses and presenting evidence to the citizen filing an appeal.

There is no impact on the Justice of the Peace if they make a mistake or poor judgement. The penalty is to the community members who have to incur the cost of the appeal to District Court. 

Good objective reasoning, organization and the ability to research case law and statutes is required of a fair and effective Justice of the Peace.

I have 37 years of criminal investigation with a proven track record of objectively gathering evidence and facts.


When I started my law enforcement career, I was surrounded by experienced officers. I quickly learned that there were some that were "true believers". They lived up to the oath of office. They were great mentors. They enforced the law without fear or favor. They were not over zealous but if a crime was committed they fairly enforced it. They prevented crime by interacting with citizens. They worked extra duty when needed and volunteered in the community. They were my hero's and I was shaped by their guidance. I lived by their example and mentored officers and I lead by example.

Then there were the other officers. They were not there as a career but as a job. They used their position for personal gain. They did their shift nothing more. They went to trainings and never shared what they learned. They were insecure and lived by knowledge is power. They would stop their friends or community leaders for drunk driving and give them rides home without charges but would arrest others for the same offense. The same with domestic abuse cases. They did not live up to their oath of office. They were not fair.

Over my career I have come to realize that these types I classified as SLIC officers. (Scared, Lazy, Inept or Corrupt). I never tolerated this behavior as a supervisor. I have seen these types as ranking officers which affected the attitudes in whole departments.

I have a proven transparent and current career history of being a leader, mentor and a FAIR law enforcement officer.


The Justice of the Peace position is an elected office.

I am not a politician, I am running for an elected position. Anyone that knows me, knows that I follow the constitution, laws, and policy without fear or favor.

I will always be fair, regardless of who is appearing in court. The facts of the case will be the only consideration.

I have NOT nor will I accept any monetary contributions from anyone including family. I don't want anyone to feel that their ability to contribute or their lack of ability to contribute will in any way influence me.

I have practically applied current case law and I have an extensive network of judges (District, Justice of the Peace, City Judges), attorneys (prosecutors, defense and civil) to discuss legal theory. 

I know how to research and I learn something new everyday.

I know that not everyone will support me. I understand and I don't take it personally that is how our system works.

I am putting forth the effort to meet all the citizens in Custer County.
I am confident that once you compare the candidates, with an open mind I am clearly the best candidate for the office.


Small town living is wonderful. The downside is trying to keep information confidential. I know people who seek medical and professional services outside their home towns because of informational breaches by staff.

My career has been spent working with confidential information. If anyone disclosed the information, lives are put at risk, reputations could be ruined with unproven information and investigations compromised. This information is normally leaked out by officers trying to impress their friends and it is a violation of their oath of office. It is a serious violation.

As Justice of the Peace, proceedings are public record. However, I believe discussions outside of the office by the Judge or staff of any court proceeding is unprofessional and will not be tolerated if I am elected.


In May 1995 I moved to Montana to work for the Montana Department of Justice as a Criminal Investigator. I was stationed in Billings and worked various locations predominately in the Eastern 2/3 of the state. Each community has a personality.

I worked several investigations in the Miles City area. I really enjoyed the area and the people I worked with. When I got a chance to move to Miles City in 2002 I jumped at the chance. 

I have had opportunities to move to other parts of Montana. I declined to leave Miles City. I consider Custer County my home and I chose to live here.

I am dedicated to serving the Custer County community.


Early on in my career we did not receive overtime or compensatory time, we just worked as much as was required.

There was a local defense attorney that was part of "The Good Ol Boy Club". This attorney would commonly subpoena all officers on behalf of the defense. Rarely would he call anyone. It was basically court ordered harassment of officers requiring them to come to court on days off or during the day while working night shifts.

Complaints to agency leaders were met with....yeah he is a character. No one was willing to say anything because of his standing in the community. Officer morale was at a low point.

I researched the statutes and found that statutes required witness fees be attached to subpoenas. It was a small amount but was required by law.

I filed a small claims action on behalf of myself and several other officers seeking witness fees to the last case he had pulled this stunt on. I was advised by local judges and prosecutors to not rock the boat. I went forward with the case. I presented our evidence and argued the statute against this attorney. We won in small claims court, the statute was clearly in our favor. He appealed to District Court and we won again. He then appealed to the state Supreme Court but then failed to get the proper documentation to the court under the time constraints and his appeal was dismissed.

At no time after that did any defense attorney subpoena officers to testify on behalf of the defense unless it was a legitimate issue and witness fees were always attached.

It was my first time of standing up against the "Good Ol Boy Club" without support. 

Doing Right isn't always easy.

My favorite quote from a dear friend. "Do Right, Fear Not."


Many years ago I was investigating a former officer who was charged with inticing his stepdaughter to commit a sexual assault on her. He was arrested and charged, there was a restraining order in place for no contact between him and the family.

Shortly after his parents bonded him out of jail the phone lines were cut at the home (precellular days). Luckily all the phones were not disabled a fact that we kept confidential. He was suspected of course but there was no proof of his involvement. The home was in the rural part of the county. Our response time was typically 20 minutes to get on site. I told her if it happened again to arm herself and fort up in the house.

The next week it happened again. She called 911 and this time her and her son took firearms and went out to check. He confronted them. She shot him in the chest. He fired back and killed her and then he shot at the son who tripped and fell. The suspect then ran into a field and collapsed. We found him, he was treated at the hospital and ultimately charged and convicted.

At a hearing I testified that I told them to arm themselves, that they had the right to protect themselves (pre stand your ground, make my day times). When I testified there was a collective gasp in the courtroom from defense and prosecution. I was then basically put in the hot seat like I had done something wrong.

I provided a short civics lesson on the 2nd Amendment to the court.

The prosecutor after the hearing admonished me to not advise citizens to arm themselves. I professionally told him I would continue to assist citizens in understanding their rights and their ability to protect their own lives. That was our sworn duty.

Doing the Right thing means you are often alone.


I was at a meeting last night with some outstanding citizens. They were unaware that there has been a state managed investigative unit in Miles City since 2002. So here is a brief overview.

In 2002 the local agencies entered into an agreement to have the Eastern Montana Drug Task Force (EMDTF) managed by the Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI). I was promoted to manage the EMDTF.

DCI is a Division under the MT Department of Justice which is headed by the MT Attorney General. I have been a Criminal Investigator for DCI for over 23 years. DCI provides investigative support and technical expertise to local and federal agencies in Montana. We have several different offices throughout the state including Miles City. DCI also runs the Montana Law Enforcement Academy.

EMDTF covers 11 counties in SE Montana and is governed by an executive board of 11 Sheriffs and 4 Chiefs of Police.

I answer not only to the Bureau Chief and Adminstrator in Helena but also to the 15 members of the executive board.

When full staffed there are 3 local officers assigned to the EMDTF (1-Custer County Deputy, 1-Rosebud County Deputy and 1-MCPD Officer). They are sworn as DCI Agents and have statewide authority. The MCPD position has been vacant for a couple years because they are running short staffed. There are also two Border Patrol Agents assigned to the EMDTF which I also supervise.

In 2014 I began to manage another DCI office in Sidney which covers the NE part of the state.

That is a brief overview.


From 1998 into 2001 there were very few officers in the state certified and trained to dismantle and investigate clandestine methamphetamine laboratories. This is a hazardous and sensitive operation dealing with a variety of hazards, including chemical exposure, possible fires and explosions as well as armed suspects.

During that time period Lee Cornell and myself were the only two state agents currently certified on the eastern 2/3 of the state. I was in nearly half of all clandestine methamphetamine labs seized in the state either as a responder or lead investigator.

After 2002 through 2005 I was responsible for seizing nearly 50 methamphetamine labs in SE Montana alone, most of those in Custer and Dawson Counties.

At this point in my career I have been in approximately 150 clandestine methamphetamine labs. I am the most experienced certified clandestine lab responder in the whole state. I serve as a trainer statewide on recertifying responders from around the state.

All of those required detailed and accurate search warrants. Only one case resulted in an acquittal...Experience Matters.


When I first started my law enforcement career, I thought that drug enforcement was a basically busy work, lots of hours and not much was changed in the community. I was working a lot of crimes against persons including major crimes, property crimes and child sexual assaults. Then I realized what a huge percentage of crimes involved or were tied to drugs. I changed my focus because when trying to cure a problem you head for the source of the problem. The problem was drugs. Lots of property crimes, people stealing to sell or trade the stolen goods for drugs. Horrible crimes against people while on drugs, robbing people for drugs and frauds committed to obtain drugs, the list grew.

The same holds true today, most of the community impacted by crime is tied to drugs. 

About 10 years ago I started to focus on rescuing children that were endangered by drug use, abuse and distribution. I realized that in all communities we were dealing with second generation or more of drug affected families. What if the we could break that cycle and through intervention by law enforcement, the courts, medical professionals, child and family services and others.

I sought out training for myself and my team. We established protocol for collecting evidence and responses to drug endangered children. I became one of 100 core trainers in the United States to instruct law enforcement and others in Drug Endangered Children response and building a community team effort.

I convinced Custer County Attorney Wyatt Glade that we had to pay more attention to these children. Wyatt is now one of the strongest advocates in the state. Wyatt and his staff especially one of the paralegals, file new cases almost daily to help break this cycle. Custer County leads the state or very nearly on rescuing children and breaking this cycle of drug abuse and Child endangerment.


In the early 2000s during the height of the meth lab crisis in MT I had received training to rescue children from meth labs and to explain why they were in danger, besides the obvious exposures. Two studies done by National Jewish Research Center on exposure of children to methamphetamine at lab sites and in homes where methamphetamine was being smoked were referenced. I used this material to establish protocol for law enforcement and medical responses to Drug Endangered Children. 

The first child in Montana to be identified as having methamphetamine in their body from their parents smoking meth and manufacturing meth in the home was from an investigation that I conducted and supervised in Miles City. Our work on that case set a standard for all of Montana.

I testified at state hearings for coordinated response to Drug Endangered Children(DEC) between law enforcement, Child and Family Services, medical providers and the courts. Because of those efforts investigative guidelines were developed. Statewide tracking of the children rescued began. Because of several of these hearings and meetings, DEC tracking and response is now a mandated effort and condition of grants to drug task forces across the state.

The state legislature through various routes then caught up the state statutes updating criminal statutes for Drug Endangered children specifically in regards to methamphetamine. Now with the threat of opioid, heroin and prescription drug abuse the statutes once again need to be updated to reflect those threats too. That is a work in progress.

The point of the criminal statutes is to provide accountability for parents and caregivers to protect their children. The target goal of all these efforts is to break the cycle of dysfunction of drug abuse and give these children a loving and safe environment to grow and thrive in a healthy way.


When I first started my career, I identified people I came in contact with that I admired and sought out their guidance. These mentors taught me so much about having a successful professional career. They were not all peace officers, they were prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, and peace officers. I learned pitfalls, how to be objective, have empathy, follow policy, demand the same from those around me and lead by example.

Even after 40 years I still love my career and if possible I would do another 20 years, it is a passion. I have a career that many officers envy. I was lucky to work many interesting investigations, experience the change in technology within the profession and then be able to pass on what I have learned.I have given back to so many officers over the course of my career. I have seen those people go on to be Chiefs, Sheriff's, other command staff, prison wardens, prosecuting attorneys. I am proud that I had in some small way shaped their career path with sound advice and example.

I recently submitted my instructor re-certification to Montana POST (the agency that oversees law enforcement instruction), so that I can continue to provide certified training to law enforcement. In talking with POST staff they said they get so many requests for instructor certification and then people never teach, just for resume building purposes. They said I was one of the few that actually provide training and instruction.

In reviewing my list of classes I have presented, I found that I presented over 200 training classes around the state and in other states. Some of those classes were 40 to 60 hours in length and covered various topics, including Tactical responses, Undercover Operations, Search Warrant and articulation of Probable Cause, Clandestine Lab Investigations, Conspiracy Investigations, Drug Endangered Children, Evidence processing, Drug Trends and Awareness, Various Firearm Courses, Narcotics Investigation, Basic Drug Introductions. Many courses were taught to local officers so agencies could train without sending officers to other cities and saving tax dollars in training expenses.


Today I came across this item. I don't know what it is actually used for, but I suspect a charm or talisman of some sort.


Probably 38 years ago I was dispatched into the neighboring county to assist a family of vacationers who were being aggressively harassed by a group of motorcycle riders (around 20 riders) who belonged to a national motorcycle club. The family was traveling in a motor home and were from South America. They spoke broken English. They had been surrounded by this club and were forced off the road. I responded alone as was the case in those days and backup was over 45 minutes away. I arrived on site check all for warrants and explained this behaviour would not be tolerated. The problem was because of the motor home almost clipping a motorcycle. I sent the club on its way and followed the family intothe town. The father of this family presented me with this article which by the way the presented it to me led me to believe it was very important to them. 

I kept it for all these years and whenever I come across it, I am reminded of how grateful people are for law enforcement and how the little things we do mean so much to some of them.


I graduated Sheridan High School when I was 17 years old. I then went to Sheridan College and graduated with an Associate of Science Degree in Law Enforcement. I worked full time most of my way through college. I drove a Special Education school bus, pumped gas, did mechanic work, layed railroad track on a spur line around Big Horn coal mine, grade checker for PKS on the East Decker mine when it was being built among others.

When I graduated college I was offered a job as a shift foreman for PKS on the Billing Airport project. I had interviewed for Rawlins Police Department at the same time. In June of 1978 there was severe flooding which closed the highway to Billings (the interstate wasn't completed yet). It bought me two days to ponder my career path. I took a chance and turned down PKS at twice the salary to wait for a call from RPD. They called on Tuesday and I was sworn in on June 15, 1978.

The downside was that I took much kidding about, was since I was 19 I had to have someone else buy my duty ammo since you had to be 21.

When I graduated I sent out 50 letters of inquiry looking for a job in law enforcement. One of the places I sent a letter to was the Custer County Sheriff's Office. Things happen for a reason.

I am very happy my career took the path it did. I got to experience a lot of variety and work with some great and some not so great people. I got to see and do things many officers only dream about, I was blessed to have never been injured too seriously and attended some fantastic trainings. 

I love my career and I wouldn't have changed a thing, other than slowing down at times and spending more time with my family. They sacrificed holidays, and I missed important events in their lives. 

I tell everyone that I supervise....family obligations first. I have covered shifts and took call over holidays so they could enjoy their family.


In 2004 I was visiting with a citizen from another county. The topic of goose hunting came up and he said his father lived in Miles City and was always wanting to go but they lived too far away. Since his dad and mine were about the same age (in their 80s) I got his contact number so I could contact him. I convinced my dad to go out goose hunting with Pat Roos and me. We got one goose hunt before dad passed and before I could introduce the two.

After Dad passed I contacted the guy to see if he wanted to go hunting. Pat Roos, Bill Klunder and I incorporated this fella into our little goose hunting group. For 4 years or so we took him hunting a few times a year before it got real cold. We still laugh and remember the fun hunts. He had some awesome stories. 

I have bale blinds that look like round bales and you sit inside, since he couldn't use layout blinds. We would take turns watching him, because he had a bad knee and sometimes when he shot he would topple over. So one of us would be there to catch him. He was a good shot and held his own.

He would always tell us that we were the goofiest guys he ever hunted with because we always told him good shot when a goose hit the ground. He said most guys would fight over who shot the goose. We always let him get them. 

Hint normally that is the way we do it, to save on having to clean the geese. However since we always cleaned his birds for him, that didn't work out. He shot his fair share. 

One of my most memorable days I took him duck hunting in a early snow storm. It wasn't real cold and perfect duck hunting day. We were hunting a slough. I waded out in my chest waders to fix a decoy and stepped in a hole. I fell down face first in the water and it was too deep to get my hands to the bottom to get up so I was face down in the water in chest waders and my hunting coat. I was able to roll over and get my feet under me and stand up. He was worried when I got to shore. He said he didn't know what to do because he wasn't able to walk out to help me and he didn't know how he was going to tell my wife I drowned. We laughed about it after the fact. Luckily I was dressed well and my body didn't get wet. We hunted for a few hours and had a grand time.

He was always grateful to go out hunting and his wife just beamed when we brought him home, she could tell he was happy to be going hunting again.


Enforcing the law and rule while living in community is difficult at times. The relationships and friendships often clash with fairly enforcing the law. I have witnessed good people who just didn't have the strength of character to fulfill their oath of office. 

I have lost track of how many times working various communities where I had to be the "bad guy" because local law enforcement were too closely related to violators. The good officials would declare that they were too close to the case and ask for help. The bad ones would tip off friends and family that they were under investigation or try to provide them official assistance. I have seen both instances in Miles City.

My reputation with law enforcement, prosecutors and judges throughout my career is one of complete fairness. I have been proven to have the strength of character to make the hard choices. I have made those hard decisions in a fair manner, always without fear or favor.


Montana is one of 7 states that a non-lawyer judge (Justice of the Peace and City Court) can sentence a person to a jail term. Although 22 states allow non attorney's to serve as judges they have an appeal process to a court with a Lawyer/Judge in the case of jail time. The same courts can levy a civil judgement to $12,000 against a person. They can suspend licenses (hunting, fishing and driving).

The Justice of the Peace Court sees far more filings and hearings than a District Court does. It is the most common court that people have contact within the criminal justice system.

It is far more important to peoples daily lives than the realize. Once elected the Justice of the Peace will serve for a 4 year term. Choose wisely.

I am not a lawyer, I have practically applied laws for 40 years. I have instructed and advised Prosecutors and Judges both Justice of the Peace and District Court judges on events and criminal code they were not familiar with. Having seen and been involved in complex cases and practically applying the theory in the field I have a wealth of experience.


As I post the Did You Know series I found that I have shared with the public things close friends didn't know. I am finding it therapeutic. I am asked how many of these posts can you do? I of course filter out dates, names and places to not embarrass anyone, but I have literally hundreds of incidents that have affected me or communities involved.

I have seen good people do bad things, bad people do good things. Official corruption, unspeakable crimes, people that are grateful to see me arrive and people that want to kill me. I have solved major crimes, cold cases, minor crimes, settled disputes between neighbors, rescued victims (people and animals).

I have been hugged and thanked, I have been physically attacked, I have been loved and hated. Even by those who attacked me they respected me afterward. I have never once been called lazy (at work), there has been some discussions at home that were different.

I have enforced the law fairly and without favor or bias for over 40 years. To quote an saying from The Guns of Will Sonnett, "No brag, just Fact".

How many can I write? Hundreds probably. I can provide documentation and witnesses to everyone of them. Because Actual honest Experience Matters. I have and will continue to share so people learn about me.


Ask anyone that has worked around me, I am a stickler for accurate reports. Each report has to be written for use by someone other than the author and has to describe all the details. One of the best examples:

A person listed a vehicle for sale in the newspaper (victim). A buyer (suspect) contacted them and they took a test drive,last seen together headed east of town. The victim never seen again. The suspect showed up driving the vehicle and said they had given the victim cash and they had no idea where the victim was located.

The suspect was known to not ever have that amount of cash. The victim was a stable person and not likely to leave his family with no word.. The story didn't make sense. 

Officers checked east of town. On an old bridge across the river and a common route for locals to travel in a loop a spent .45 caliber bullet was found with what appeared to be blood on the bullet.

Prior to the test drive the suspect was suspected of stealing a 45 semi auto pistol from a motel room. 

After irrigation season was over the victims wallet and the stolen 45 pistol was recovered from an irrigation ditch. Follow up on the theft of the pistol was conducted and reports generated. Further investigation on the disappearance of the victim met with no results.

A decade later.....Hunters locate a human skull, downstream from the bridge where the spent bullet was located. A single large caliber bullet hole was observed in the skull. I began working the case with the Police Department.

We now had a homicide victim, a spent bullet, a suspect, a recovered likely murder weapon which was rusted and could not be compared to the the spent bullet. I poured through all available reports. I found a statement from a person who observed the suspect with the stolen 45 pistol. They stated he was playing with it and it discharged into his bathroom wall. I located the address and the current owner. I got permission to search through the bathroom.

Over 10 years after the fact, I looked at the wall and found a couple of likely old repairs. The very first area was a hole, filled partially with an old newspaper and plastered over. The newspaper had the victim's ad for the vehicle, dated the day before the disappearance/homicide. Inside the wall behind the newspaper was a spent .45 caliber bullet.

Forensic examination showed the bullets were likely fired by the same pistol. The information was provided at trial for the suspect 14 years after the homicide and he was convicted of murder. He appealed but died in prison before the appeal was completed.


When I decided to run for Custer County Justice of the Peace, I went to two workshops to ensure I knew the laws and rules. I didn't depend on someone else to know the laws. It was my responsibility to make sure everything was done above board and correctly.

I found that the Commissioner of Political Practices strongly recommended the electronic reporting system for local races. It is mandatory for state races. All of my reports have been done electronically and professionally after all it is much more efficient and accurate.

You can go to the office of Political Practices to view all candidates filings, they are public record.


In 1996 I attended a very good two week training for Undercover techniques. This was some classroom but mostly interactive role playing with professional actors and a mocked up community including inner city housing and rural farms. It was very realistic training.

From 1995 and throughout my current career, a lot of my duties included working in undercover roles and supervising agents working in an undercover role. Since I have been in many situations over the years, I am able to identify pitfalls or danger signs and I am able to keep my team safe and make cases within the guidelines of state and federal statutes.

Everyone that I have ever supervised, got the same speech from when they began working in my unit. "I won't ever ask you to do anything that I wouldn't do" They seem relieved and always smile, then I say "The downside is there isn't much that I won't do" 

I was the leader in developing a DCI Montana based Undercover School. We hired role players from the acting guild in Helena. I designed the lesson plans and was the lead instructor. For several years from 1998 into 2004, I taught this class in Montana, South Dakota and an an abbreviated version for the Alaska State Troopers. Officers had to apply and show a need for the training. We limited the number of officers to only those that would actually use the training. There are too many officers who go to training and they never use the skills and techniques.

I am proud that many officers who attended this training went on to do some fantastic cases. They further developed their skills and techniques to really become experts in their fields. I am proud that I was instrumental in providing them with their introduction and base skills in Undercover work.


As a supervisor I get calls for assistance from other agency. I have to review their request and then do a priority assessment. Since most agencies in Eastern Montana are smaller agencies we get requests to assist in the service of search warrants. I always review the search warrant if they already have one. I check to make sure that everything is in order before we commit to assist.

I have seen search warrants that have already been issued by a judgethat would not hold up in a suppression hearing. Most often they are issued by Justice of the Peace and the probable cause is not articulated. We then tell the agency to return the warrant per statute and work with the agency to rewrite the search warrant or investigate further.

The Justice of the Peace is trying to cooperate and work with local law enforcement but due to a lack of experience assumes facts that are not articulated within the warrant. This "rubber stamp" issuing of warrants causes the case not to be prosecuted because all the evidence located will not be admissible in court. This exposes the law enforcement to civil liability, it doesn't address the criminal activity and truly wastes resources.

An experienced judge will hold law enforcement to a high standard to produce accurate and legal documents. They have to be able to recognize the errors and omissions in the search warrant application.

If a person has been in law enforcement for any length of time, especially in a smaller department they would have authored search warrants. If they haven't authored very many search warrants, I would assume from my experience of supervising officers for over 25 years, that they probably weren't working very much and were lazy, or really didn't take any extra effort in protecting the citizens of their communities. 


Many people don't realize how laws and procedures are implemented and how they affect investigations and the officers ability to serve their communities.

Laws are designed and crafted by the Legislature. Usually they are put in as a bill based upon trends in the community and one of the elected representatives agrees to bring it to the legislature. Once a bill becomes law and codified into statute, then there are the legal challenges in the field and the procedures to implement the bill become fine tuned by case law.

Case law results when a judge makes a ruling based upon evidence and briefs or arguments from the attorney's. The ruling is appealed to the State Supreme Court. However the Supreme Court rules will dictate further directives on implementing the statute.

Officers do not want to ever have their names associated with negative case law. So they try very hard to follow the statutes and stay up to date on case law (it comes out almost daily). Truly effective officers study the case laws and shares them with other officers. (Something I do on a regular basis).

We had local case in Miles City in early 2002 in which the prosecutor put on a very lackluster case. Judge Gary Day ruled based upon the information provided. It established an ruling that was hampering investigations. 

Later on we conducted an investigation and gathered very strong evidence against the defendant. The same defense attorney argued that we had gathered the evidence contrary to the Judges prior ruling. This time we had a very prepared prosecutor who allowed me to testify to exacting and accurate circumstances of the evidence gathering. Judge Day ruled that we had gathered the evidence in the proper manner and allowed the evidence to be presented in court. Of course the defense attorney appealed this ruling to the Supreme Court.

The Attorney General assigned an attorney to the Supreme Court to represent the states argument. I was advised by the local prosecutor that this attorney thought it wasn't a case worth fighting for because he wasn't seeing the long range implications of future investigations, statewide. I made an appointment with the Attorney General's attorney and drove to Helena to meet with him. I explained the case and went over the transcripts of the hearing, explaining how we testified into the court record, establishing a distinct procedure for collecting the evidence. The attorney agreed that it was now an important case for the state to win. I had built that desire into him to see this case through.

The case was argued to the Montana Supreme Court and the procedures that I had my team implement in the gathering of the evidence is now the standard statewide. Those positive Supreme Court rulings are what officers like to see, that they did the job correctly and within legal guidelines. 

I have had a few cases go to the State Supreme Court. All of them have concluded my investigations were done properly within the legal standards. I am very proud that I have set positive case law and my teams have always sought out effective and legal ways to conduct investigations.


I get a ton of questions about undercover investigations. There are some issues that most people don't understand.

When I went to work for Montana Department of Justice I was stationed in Billings and assigned to undercover duties. We are one of the few state agencies in the country that do undercover work. There are risks and it is high liability for the agency. Most officers are not willing to make the personal sacrifice.

It isn't about just getting to look scruffy and dressing casually. I lived in the same neighborhood for 7 years. 2 of my neighbors (a FWP Warden and the couple that lived next door) knew what I actually did for a living, the others didn't have a clue. I went from an Undersheriff where everyone in town knew me and my family to becoming invisible.

There were benefits. I got stopped by law enforcement a lot more and I understood some treated people fairly, others were total jerks. Once the jerks figured out who I was their tone changed. On more than one occasion I took the time to educate them on treating people fairly and putting their biases aside.

I worked the Great Falls area for a time period and made close friends with their investigators but no uniformed officers knew me. My partner and I got invited to a retirement party for the commanding investigator. We came in after it started. Only 3 of the 25 or so officers and spouses knew us. You could of heard a pin drop when we walked in. Heads turned and officers figured we were crashing the party and causing trouble. The host and his wife gave us hugs and introduced us....instant change of mood.

The host's 90 year old mother was there and she wanted a photo with us. We got her between us and these two large, leather clad, bearded men posed with her. With us on either side of this very tiny lady. We each kissed her cheek while she gave a big ol smile.

There were lots of downsides. Often we worked in two person teams without backup. We worked in tense situations for drugs, guns, corruption, murder for hire etc. We hid from local law enforcement for fear of corrupt law enforcement or cops bragging we were in the area etc.

I worked on a criminal organization on a multistate drug distribution conspiracy for another agency. After the trial in Federal Court in which I testified and all were convicted, I was contacted by the lead investigator. He advised me they had information that a contract had been put out to have him and I killed. This organized crime group were well known for following up on these "contracts". So far apparently no one wants to try and earn that money, but I still stay aware....



I love food, all kinds of food. I really enjoy exploring different types of food. I grew up as a voracious reader and gravitated toward western history. I also used to get lost in my Uncle's collection of old Outdoor Life magazines. Respect of our natural resources is paramount with me. 

Combining all of these attributes, I would not hunt and kill any animal without making full use of it. My poor parents were traditional in their food preferences. They did tolerate most of my food experiences when I was growing up.

One time in my teenage years my folks were gone when I came home from one of my adventures in the Big Horn mountains. I had prepared a roast at it was cooking when they arrived at home. I was excited to share the bounty I had obtained on my adventure. When my mom came through the front door, she said Oh my gosh Honey, what are you cooking? By the fact she was covering her nose and my dad just shaking his head, I assumed they didn't appreciate the aroma of dinner being cooked. To me it smelled of adventure and respect of the animal I harvested. Apparently we were on divergent culinary roads.

Mom went to the stove and opened it looking at the roast that was cooking. My mom, said What the heck is that and you need to clean up my stove when you are done. I proudly exclaimed that is mountain man survival food and it is a fine porcupine, wanna taste some?

They declined to taste my porcupine roast, which was actually not all that bad, salt, pepper, garlic with a hint of turpentine. I have since learned that porcupine needs par boiled prior to roasting otherwise you get the aroma and taste of turpentine. If you avoid the fat the meat is pretty decent.

In recent times like only a couple years ago, I acquired several beaver tails, which I skinned and cured like bacon. I brought to a board meeting beaver tail and bean soup which was actually a hit. I have brought in Raccoon stew to work, which was very well received. Note Raccoon like turtle, porcupine all taste better par boiled.

Over the years I have eaten and cooked all manner of animals, I won't go into a the list, however the list of ones that I have drawn a line on are, skunk, opossum and coyote. There may be others but I haven't gotten around to them yet.

I always keep an open mind and check things out before I decide how I feel about it, just like my career. I have an open and objective mindset.


I was talking to a friend I respect very much yesterday. He said he was questioned about my Do You Know Series and if I was for real.

So this part is documented with photos from fairly early on in my career.

1990 I went through a Precision Rifle Course taught be Major Land. He was Carlos Hathcock's commanding officer. Military buffs and rifle shooters will understand the significance of this. I was top shooter and got this autographed copy of the book. I was the SWAT team leader and back up Sniper.

1991 I was in the magazine SWAT for an article written by a local writer. Much younger and thinner then. Basically I have nearly 20 years on actual SWAT or Tactical teams and 10 years of other tactical operations experience.

1993 Colorado Law Enforcement Officer published an article written by a local news reporter on the Sheriff's Office. This on has a paragraph about my crime scene and investigative experience. Now 25 years later that reputation still rings true and I have a lot more experience. Heck at 20 years into my career I was just warming up.

So yes I am real. All I have posted are facts...I have had an awesome career. Many things most people will not ever know or want to know.

I only put things here that I feel comfortable sharing in a public setting. Thousands of stories are mine and many I will never talk about they are too personal to share.



I was elected to represent all the members of the Montana Narcotics Officers Association (125 members) to the National Narcotics Officers Association Coalition. For several years I traveled to Washington DC to vote on national drug issues. Each state has one vote. I was honored to represent drug enforcement in Montana. I went on vacation time and MNOA paid my travel expenses.

I met presidential cabinet members and other dignitaries. I would meet each year with our congressmen. Max Baucus was outstanding to work with. He amazed me at always remembering names. I would run into Max from time to time around the state. He always remembered my name and points from our previous discussions. I always got personal meetings with him in DC. One time his staffers took me to the Capitol Building and I sat outside the vice president office while he was on the Senate floor. Max came out the hearing and we talked about funding for drug enforcement for 30 minutes. Max was always supportive of law enforcement.

I met Jon Tester his first year in DC. Jon was always accomidating and he too took time to always meet me in person in his office. We would talk about issues as well as Montana topics such as sheep and butchering topics we had in common. I would run into Jon on occasion and we always visited.

Denny Rehberg visited one time and we discussed the drug legalization lobby. Apparently that discussion wasn't appreciated and I never got a personal visit with him again.

I would talk with the congressmen and their staffers throughout the year when they needed information on drug issues in Montana.

I went and campaigned for Byrne/Jag grant funds for Montana. I finally got fed up with begging for money. I felt that if drug enforcement wasn't important enough for hard funding as opposed to grant funding they needed someone else out there and I stepped down from that position. They elected another officer who spent more time visiting with relatives instead of campaigning for Montana. Currently we are not represented nationally.

I thought it was an interesting process and a great experience to see how government works.

Follow Up Part #37

We visited today. Jon said he saw my sign on the west end of town.

Non-partisan means I serve all sides of the political spectrum. That is what unbiased looks like.

There are no mutual endorsements by this post.....

 Jeff Faycosh and Jon Tester

Jeff Faycosh and Jon Tester


For the last 12 years I have fed my dogs a totally raw diet. This choice resulted in a chain reaction.

I only feed human grade food. Since I always processed my own pork, lamb, beef and wild game it was an easy transition for the meat processing.

I ended up buying a flock of 10 cull ewes. Once I discovered they were bred and pregnant I kept 4 of them.

I started raising sheep. These ewes were culled because they had mastitis and only had one side producing milk. Of course they all had twins or triplets lambs. I learned a lot about raising bum lambs. I also ended up with goat kids and bum calves.

I raised goats along with the sheep. Goat colostrum is liquid gold during lambing season. Goat milk was great and made super cheese. I found that bottle calves turned into entertaining (at least to me) cows. Trying to build a fence while a cow carries around your fencing pliers or rubs their head on you while trying to level and set corner posts is always a treat.

I reached out often to my more experienced neighbors, veterinarians and other producers. I developed a network of information. I studied articles and obtained information from producer groups. I ended up also providing tips and information back through my network too.

I sold off all the animals 3 years ago. I am slowly building things back up. I obtained bred ewes last year. I had learned May lambs are easier than January lambs when you are working a full time job. These ewes of course had lambs in late January and early February during last years brutal cold. I ended up saving every lamb and only had one bottle lamb. 

The best part about the network I have is that none of them are in law enforcement or government. It gives me chance to connect with people who have a different perspective on life. It is therapeutic and redeems my faith in the strength of the community.


There has been tremendous community support for the Miles City Police Department to train Officer Fetty and his new drug dog. The community understands how bad the drug problem is in Miles City and Custer County.

In the last 15 years there has been specific case law in dealing with drug detecting dogs; When they can be used, what must be proven prior to the dog being allowed to sniff the air around a house/vehicle/parking lot, How they are deployed and Why they are deployed.

As with all technology there are rules. If these procedures are not followed any evidence seized because of the use of the dog and any subsequent evidence will not be admissible in court and the criminals will not be prosecuted wasting resources and not addressing the community problems.

The Montana Constitution provides more rights and protection than the US Constitution. The rules regarding the use of the drug detecting dog is just one example of more privacy rights provided to all citizens under the Montana Constitution.

Dealing with search and seizure and drug detecting dog case law has been something I deal with on an regular basis. I am current on the protection of citizen's rights under the Montana Constitution, I have nearly 24 years of specific experience with the Montana Constitution, in successfully obtaining evidence that was seized properly and is legally admissible in any court of law.

I have analyzed, studied the case law on search and seizure. I have developed training programs for law enforcement, Justices of the Peace and prosecutors to simplify the steps of how and when evidence may be properly seized as well as the use of drug detecting dogs. This training allows legal and efficient use of community resources to make a meaningful impact on drug distribution in communities all across the state of Montana and Custer County.

My extensive, professional and advanced experience will provide a benefit of legally sound search warrants issued to law enforcement, which protects the citizen's rights and holds law enforcement to a high standard, thereby protecting all citizens in Custer County by fairly and accurately knowing case law and statutes.

Experience truly does matter, case law is complicated and has changed tremendously in the last 15 years. There are Montana state statutes that have come into place in the last 15 years that have established protocols for law enforcement. These statutes did not exist 15 years ago. I know these statutes, have successfully applied them in the field and I know their implications to cases presented in court.

Vote for Jeff Faycosh because Current, Professional, Advanced, Experience does matter. Jeff Faycosh will be up to date and ready to work the first day of his term as YOUR next Custer County Justice of the Peace.


During my life I have come in contact with all kinds of people. I learned long ago that people have prejudices and they stereotype people. They come to generalize and they are segregated into categories. I see this behavior in all types of people, educated and uneducated, it is an ugly part of society.

For instance because of my career in law enforcement, it has been said I will always side with law enforcement. The other is that law enforcement is only concerned with locking people up. Both of these statements are inaccurate and show an obvious bias.

This type of generalization comes very often from educated and supposedly tolerant people. However, they have no knowledge of actual law enforcement. They have never experienced what an officer goes through on calls. The vast majority of officers care about protecting the citizens from crimes. They are worried that property isn't safe from thieves and vandals, that spouses beat each other and their kids, that a fun night out on the town turns into tragedy when someone driving drunk crashed into innocent people and property. They don't understand the sacrifices of a law enforcement career.

While working undercover or highly sensitive cases, I have had to hide my presence from law enforcement. Unless I personally know the officer and know I can completely trust them, I had to avoid them.

At just one point in my career in Montana, I was one of the lead investigators on an OCDETF (Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force) investigation “Operation Bear Trap”. One of the allegations being investigated was that law enforcement was working with drug traffickers to protect drug distribution networks. We proved this to be correct. We had to be very careful who we dealt with during the multi-year investigation. For this investigation, I received a Meritorious
Achievement Award from the West Central Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (a national organization). This was for investigating law enforcement officers or "policing the police". There is always a profession that has to police their own ranks.

Law enforcement like any other profession is made up of people. People by their very nature have flaws. I found that it is impossible to make blanket statements against or for any career. There are many great people in the world, but they are all individuals. Some are good, some are bad, some are a mixture of the two. No one is perfect nor is any profession immune from problems.

I have the life experiences to know not to take everything at face value. My life revolves around facts, regardless of where they come from and who presents them. I will take this objective reasoning into the courtroom when I am elected YOUR next Custer County Justice of the Peace.


Things that make me unhappy; people denied fair treatment because they aren't part of the "Good Old Boys". People that are judged by their looks or beliefs.

Things that make me feel good; Helping people who have been harmed or taken advantage of. Rescuing children from unhealthy conditions.

Things that make me smile every time; happy children and babies of all kinds especially animal babies.

I don't know about all of you but I will be glad when this election cycle is over and we don't have to listen and see all the negative ads. It seems to me this is the most vicious election cycle I have ever seen.

Have a happy positive day.


One of the dumbest things I ever did resulted in a new job and a significant pay increase.

I was on patrol late one evening on the east side of Rawlins. I was traveling by the clubhouse of a national biker club. I heard a gunshot from the area of the clubhouse. I drove through the alley and saw a large group gathered. When I shined my spotlight on them, I saw a hand holding a silver colored revolver come out of the group and two shots were fired toward me.

I advised the other officer on shift where I was and what happened. He was on the opposite side of town. 

The group ran into the clubhouse. I grabbed my shotgun and got cover behind a telephone pole away from my car. I gave commands for them to exit the house. One man came out and walked toward my car and spotlight. He had something in his hand. I was off to the side of my car behind the pole. He refused commands to drop the object and lay down. As he walked toward the spotlight I assisted him to the ground and handcuffed him.

I called on the radio telling the other officer I had one in custody. He asked if I was going in the clubhouse. I said yes. It seemed logical at the time.

I went to the backdoor and kicked it open. I went in and gathered 16 members and proned them out. In a few seconds I realized a sergeant from the sheriffs office was by my side. He said what are you doing. I said arresting these guys for shooting at me. He said We are the only two cops here. I said no the other guy was out front. He said nope he hasn't got here yet.....

Finally a few more cops showed up and we were able to get everyone transported. We recovered guns from the subsequent search.

The Sheriff CW Ogburn was a legend in WY law enforcement. A fair and no nonsense peace officer. He was a Marine Raider in the South Pacific and most all the deputies were former marines.

A couple weeks later the SO and ATF agents did a raid on the clubhouse. I was the only city officer invited to assist them. Not long afterward I was offered a job as a deputy. I was allowed into their ranks and accepted.

I was very lucky that night and I didn't make the wisest choice but it did set me on a great career path......things happen for a reason.


We all have incidents that stick with us and those that keep us moving forward.

In a town in SE MT, we had purchased drugs from people that had children in the their home (a common problem). We had obtained a search warrant to search the residence and obtain evidence of drug distribution and Endangering the Welfare of a Child. We found the "parents" at home with a brand new large screen TV, newest gaming system, no electricity (They ran an extension cord to the neighbors and were stealing electricity, for the TV and gaming system). There was no water. There were 6 children, from 3 years old up to about 9 years old. Only 4 lived there, 2 were staying over. The refrigerator wasn't working and wasn't stocked with food only pop and beer. 

The toilet was literally full to the brim of feces and they were using the bathtub since the toilet was full. You couldn't hardly see the washer and dryer for all the clothes tossed in the utility room, all dirty. There were dogs in the house and they had been kept in the basement. Dog feces looked like carpet in the basement. The kids had no sheets on their beds and only a couple of blankets. Dog feces were all over the floors in the bedrooms and kitchen.

The children were painting and writing on all the walls, no screens on any of the open windows. Parents were chain smoking, they had plenty of cigarettes but no food for the kids.....

The first step was to remove the kids to a safe location. The children were telling us to F*** Off, pigs go home etc. I told them they needed to be in a safe place. They said no they weren't going they liked it here, they didn't want to go. 

They had crappy parents.....but they were their parents. They had total freedom to do whatever they wanted whenever they wanted, they didn't know any better. 

This case in particular showed the reason why the cycle of drug abuse in this family needed to be broken by intervention by law enforcement, social services, the courts and the county attorney. Those children if not shown respect for others and themselves would grow up to raise their children in the exact same way as their parents.

The parents needed to be forced into treatment and be held accountable for their illegal acts. The children needed medical treatment and to be placed into safe foster care. The hope is that in time the parents will get squared away and the family reunified into a safe and healthy lifestyle.

In this case the children were raised by others. The mother continued to have legal issues, the father disappear from the scene. 

Not all the cases turn out rainbows and unicorns, but the children were rescued from a destructive lifestyle. I hope they thrived, I don't always get updated on the children we rescue. I certainly hope they did.


In order to keep your sanity in a career in law enforcement you have to see the humor in some situations.

In 2002 shortly after I was first assigned to the Miles City DCI Regional Office I got a call one evening from the law enforcement counterparts in North Dakota. It seems that ND law enforcement was conducting a drug investigation. During this investigation shots were fired and a couple of suspects left ND and were headed to Miles City.

We located the suspect vehicle at a local motel. The desk clerk cooperated with us and identified the motel room that was listed with the vehicle and the fact that 3 people were in the room. I rounded up some assistance from local law enforcement including Sheriff Tony Harbaugh. We put a plan in place to get the suspects to open the door.

The plan worked and when the door to motel room opened, both Sheriff Tony Harbaugh and I entered the room at the same time. Now neither Tony or I are what most people would consider petite nor was the door opening any larger than the normal 36 inch wide door. Some how we didn't get get stuck in the door way, we both went into the room and each one of us encountered a male subject and gained their compliance, the female who opened the door was secured by other officers.

Both Tony and I laughed at how we were able to both fit at the same time through that limited doorway. To this day it amazes me that we didn't end up stuck in the doorway like a comedy sketch. Things happen for a reason.


With a 40 year career in law enforcement I experienced many different scenarios. Through it all my family was also affected.

When my boys were little them and their friends would play games, I found out one day that the kids were arguing who got to be me and who got to be my partner. Similar to playing Batman and Robin, of course I was proud.

When my youngest was too little for school, I would work night and graveyard shifts so I could watch him during the day. I was catching a nap one day while he was sleeping. I was woke up by the cold metal of his cap gun pressed against my face. I opened my eyes and he said in a stern 3 year old voice, "on the floor dirtbag", time to get up.

Things changed as they got older. I was having a pretty hectic day. I had an escape prisoner and was out overnight with the tracking dogs and had been up for 24 plus hours. I also had an incident with a rural person who had threaten Highway workers and fired shots at their equipment. (he would have episodes from time to time and then just hole up in his house). I came home to grab a quick nap before I headed out to deal with the mental disturbed armed person. When I woke up my older son who was now in his early teens, came over to talk. He said you know I used to like what you do, but I really don't like it anymore. I told him don't worry, I got good help and I am always careful.

We lived in the country with no near neighbors. I came home one day after calling home and telling my wife I had to come and shower and get some clothes that I had to leave on an investigation. Of course while I was showering the kids went out to play and saw I wasn't driving my car, but had a "station wagon". My wife looked out the window and said why are you driving that car. I said I needed to haul some things. It dawned on her, I had a deceased person in the "station wagon" and was headed to an autopsy. I had to maintain chain of custody of the evidence and my place was on the way. She wasn't very happy with me for that one.

They were always there for me and I protected them as much as I could. The kids got hassled at school when I arrested parents of their classmates. I dealt with threats against my family, most of them they never knew about, but we did talk about being aware all the time.

We didn't have very many holidays that weren't ruined by me getting called out or working. Christmas and Thanksgiving are when violent crimes often occur. Being on call 24/7 takes a toll on family time.

I couldn't have done it without their support and sacrifice during the years.


The most common question I get from people who are interested in law enforcement or starting a career in law enforcement is ; What is the hardest part of the job.

The hardest thing to deal with is poor leadership.

I have worked with and for some true leaders.

I have worked for and with some of the most miserable supervisors (I can't call them leaders). Typically they got their position by being at an agency the longest (dumbest reason in the world to promote someone). Or they knew the right people (networking isn't bad).

So many agencies lose great people due to poor management and lack of leadership.

I tell new officers. Most of your health threats come from stress from management. Do your jobs, don't stress over things you can't control.
The old adage of career and personal survival comes into play; out live them or out rank them but don't let them beat you down.


During a 40 year law enforcement career, I find that you make several transitions into different categories.

When I was young, I would see the older cops and tell myself I will never be like them. I would stay in shape and still have the "fire" in me.

As I got older I was more deliberate in action and would eye roll at the young officers being all excited all the time.

Now I have patience, I am deliberate in action, still stay in shape and ready to work. But I have helped cultivate good investigators and cops. Many don't remember my young days. I feel like Gus and Woodrow in the bar scene with the surly bartender.

Occasionally I have to refresh my reputation even in a little way.

One afternoon I got a call from a Trooper near Miles City. They had been on a stop for some time and they knew they had a load of marijuana. The Trooper asked me to come take a look they couldn't find it in the hidden compartment despite using a new technology like fiber optics.

I arrived on scene and was briefed. I went to trunk of the car and could smell raw marijuana. The side panels were loosened where they had looked already. I went over and opened a factory compartment and immediately saw bulked packaged marijuana and pointed it out to the Trooper. The Trooper was shocked, we laughed, well I did a lot more than he did.....

Time on scene...minutes....documented on dash camera video,.... the .look on the Troopers face.....priceless.

The little things that cement a reputation ....


Throw back Thursday.

A couple of photos from the past.
I was one of the two State Agents that searched the buildings and area at the end of the Freeman incident in Garfield County.

Photos from Flathead Lake back in the day on the paddlewheel boat.

Part 48.jpg


part 49.jpg

As an Agent with the Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) part of our statutory duties is the training of law enforcement officers. Here is a photo of my first class instructing at the Montana Law Enforcement Academy in 1995.

I was reminded yesterday of the ways I instruct officers on a daily basis as a Supervisory Agent with DCI.

We were working an undercover operation in NE Montana. One of the agents is a younger fella and he was working undercover. He has shown a great aptitude for working undercover. I directed him to drive a particular vehicle. I was informed he never learned to drive a manual transmission which this vehicle had. I suggested he spend the next couple hours learning how to drive a manual transmission.

Upon my arrival a few hours later it was obvious that he was stressed about driving the vehicle. Of course he wanted to do a good job both on the operation in his undercover role and be able to drive a manual transmission vehicle. There was a campaign to allow him to drive a different vehicle.

I know that sometimes in order for an Agent to grow in skill and confidence they have to experience and deal with stress. The manual transmission was going to be used.

Did I say the roads were ice covered, it was snowing and the vehicle was two wheel drive. Beads of sweat were forming on my stressed agent.

I was supportive despite the whinning I was hearing. Like a supportive supervisor I gave my pep talk about learning new things are good for you. Time has twisted his memory of the day. He only heard me being demanding, silly things like just put your big boy pants on and lets get going...not my usual you can do it speech.

It worked out He crow hopped the vehicle and stalled in intersections but made it to the deal. The drug transaction went smoothly. Then the Agent drove a little better back to our staging area. He learned and grew in skills that day.  He said he was more stressed about driving then dealing with the suspect...probably but he learned to manage stress and deal with the curve balls of life.

I am sure that memory will stay with him forever. He has since been in far more dangerous situations and handled them skillfully and professionally.

Someday he will thank me for not enabling his inability to drive a stick shift.


No one has ever called me lazy and I love my career. I always worked extra hours. DCI rarely paid overtime we get compensatory time instead. I was the bane of my supervisor since I had a lot of comp time and vacation time built up. I was always hounded to take time off.

In the summer of 2001 I was approached to work for the Alaska State Troopers (AST) doing undercover. I took vacation and comp time from DCI and went to work for AST as a special commissioned officer. My first location was a small village on Prince William Sound. I worked alone with occasional contacts with an officer from the police department.

I became a fixture in the local gathering places. I was accepted and became recognized, so much that when I walked into a bar the bartenders would have my drink ready before I got all the way in. Kinda like a long haired Norm from Cheers.

One night the fishing fleet was in and the bar was packed. The bars there close at 4 am. I had become acquainted with most of the crews especially the crew of a tender ship. One of their hands was a sourdough from Dutch Harbor who was called Dutch. He was a skinny guy between 45 and 70 and looked like a tough old piece of jerky. It was raining (like every other day), the bar was packed and Dutch was very drunk and was being a pest. Several guys tossed him out in the rain and told him to go to his ship. I knew the docks were slippery and was he was barely able to walk. I grabbed my raincoat and shouldered my way out of the bar. Apparently the crowd was watching. I walked Dutch to the docks and got him in his room on the tender ship. Then I walked back to the bar.

When I got back some of the guys commented what are you doing that old drunk is a pain in the ass, you should have let the sharks eat him. I looked down at the ground and shrugged my shoulders. I said Hell he is my dad. The crowd went silent and someone said oh we didn't know that....

I laughed and said I am just messing with ya I just knew he needed some help.

They laughed...I got more free drinks...oh yay,  just what I needed.

Even when working undercover, I still looked out for the underdog. The sheepdog in me was always there.


While I was working as a Deputy Sheriff with the Carbon County Sheriffs Office in Rawlins Wyoming (1979-1985). We had shift teams. One sergeant, two deputies. I moved to a new team. The other deputy on the team Jerry Colson had been on the team longer but I had more time in the SO. Jerry and I were friends and pretty competitive. We had a disagreement over who was in charge when the Sergeant was off.

We went to Sheriff CW Ogburn, a hard core Marine Raider and no nonsense kind of guy. He did have a sense of humor. We had no policy manual you just did your job. The Sheriff said he didn't care about our disagreement and we should work it out or fight each other for the position.

Young testosterone filled deputies and the suggestion by the Sheriff that a fight was the proper way to settle the issue, seemed like a grand idea to us. We made arrangements to use the local boxing ring. We lined up judges and a referee. We trained and promoted the fight.

The evening arrived and the community hall where the ring was set up had a very good crowd. My two sons were not allowed to attend....I thought they would enjoy it, my wife knew how Jerry and I were competitive wise and she said no to the kids.

When the fight started I stunned Jerry with a flurry of punches and had him against the ropes and battered. He was still my friend and I backed off to let him regroup. We went toe to toe beating each other and wearing ourselves out. On the last round Jerry got a nice jab into my face. When it was all said and done Jerry won by points with that jab.

Afterward I talked to the other deputies, most of who were veterans. They all thought Jerry and I were crazy and to a person they all agreed it was a great fight. We had a party that night after. I had trouble eating with knuckle bumps on my jaws and face. Jerry went to the hospital with chest pain (bruised ribs).

It was awesome, the photos sucked, but I got a few from that my cheerleader/wife took. I don't think most agencies policies and union contracts would allow this today but at that time and place it worked great.

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