BUTTE – After 37 years in law enforcement, Capt. Gary Becker will leave the job at the end of this year with no regrets.
“It’s been a great career. I enjoyed the people I’ve worked with; I’ve especially enjoyed being able to go out and help the public,” said Becker.
Becker took command of the Montana Highway Patrol’s Butte District more than 15 years ago. He still finds it most rewarding just helping people who’ve been involved in a routine traffic accident.
“Their experience is rather traumatic and being able to help them out, being compassionate with their needs and so forth, and just being able to help them out,” said Becker.
One of the biggest changes Capt. Becker has seen in his almost four decades in law enforcement is that this job is getting more dangerous and unpredictable.
“We make a traffic stop, we don’t have an idea if that person or the people in that vehicle are involved in, you know, drug activity or anything else. You just don’t know anymore, it’s just become more violent,” he said.
And while Capt. Becker has had many wonderful moments, he’s also seen the dark side of the job during his career, and those moments will stay with him forever.
“The fatal crashes, again, law enforcement officers that have been killed, those kind of things. I can go back years and years and years and tell you certain events that happened. They’re there, they’re imprinted, they don’t go away and just by leaving this job I certainly don’t think they’ll go away,” said Becker.
Even in retirement, Becker will still be thinking about his former command.
“I’ve invested a lot of time and energy in the patrol trying to make it a better place, a better organization. I hopefully left this place and the organization better than when I came,” he said.
His replacement, Sgt. Josh Brown, believes Becker did just that.
“I just hope to be able to continue the momentum that he’s got going with this district because it’s really a great place to work,” said Brown.
Brown has 17 years with the Highway Patrol and will be promoted to Captain when he takes over the Butte District at the end of the year.
-John Emeigh reporting for MTN