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New Bozeman Chief of Police lays out vision for leading department

Veltkamp chosen after nationwide search
Posted at 9:20 PM, Mar 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-24 23:20:43-04

BOZEMAN — After a nationwide search for Bozeman’s next police chief, the City of Bozeman announced on Tuesday morning they decided on the department’s next leader.

And the new chief is a familiar face to the community.

“I believe we have one of the best, if not the best department in the state of Montana. So I’m looking forward to being able to share that with the community,” said Bozeman’s new Chief of Police Jim Veltkamp.

Veltkamp was selected to serve as Bozeman Police Department’s new chief of police by the city manager’s office.

Veltkamp joined the Bozeman Police Department in 1999 and has been serving as the department’s interim police chief since last fall.

Veltkamp says he's excited to continue serving the community and ready to tackle the challenges, including concerns surrounding Bozeman’s rapid growth, hiring and retaining the best officers and having an ongoing conversation about police funding and policy.

“If we’re looking at a policy while there’s a problem, that’s way too late. So we need to continually check up on our policies and make sure that our policies are up to date,” said Veltkamp.

“We’re following best practices, following models policies and also keep the community engaged in that process and keep them informed on what those policies are.”

Veltkamp says he has a number of goals for the department, but one thing he places a high emphasis on is transparency.

“Honestly, we sometimes forget how much people don’t know about us. So if we can share more just about how the department is structured and who the people are that work here, and what goes on in an officer or detective’s regular day I think really do appeal to people and can make them feel more connected to us.”

Veltkamp was one of three finalists as the search narrowed down, and the city of Bozeman says he stood out after a series of interviews and last week’s public forum.

Veltkamp begins his new role immediately.