Council approves promotion of Stewart and hiring of officer

M.P. Regan
Wednesday, June 8, 2022
The raised arms of the law

Newly promoted Dillon Assistant Police Chief Joel Stewart (left) and new Dillon Police Officer Christepher Feathers take their oaths of office at last week’s Dillon City Council meeting. M.P. Regan photo

New Dillon Police Officer Christepher Feathers came to Montana out of a love for the state.

Then he found a new line of work he loved.

And a community and group of people to pursue it with that felt like family, the Dillon Police Department.

“One of my mentors told me, I wish I had the chance to go live where I want to live. And I took that to heart. I fell in love with Montana,” recalled Feathers, a veteran emergency responder specialist of an affection that arose while he was taking a whitewater rescue class in Missoula.

He moved to the Dillon area, where he had some family and friends, and began looking for work, according to Feathers, who’d been employed for years by a pair of companies out of his native California that specialized in emergency response to hazardous material issues.

“We flew all over country doing special HAZMAT operations. So, I worked with DEA, FBI, Secret Service, a bunch of different organizations,” recalled Feathers, who, among other things, worked on cases involving anthrax, ricin and a COVID-infested cruise ship during his time in that industry.

“I’d thought about changing my career, and I came out here and saw the ad for a police officer in Dillon, and I thought it might be a good fit,” said Feathers, the nephew of a law enforcement officer and son of two firefighters.

“I thought it would be a good opportunity to get out and meet people and become part of the community,” said Feathers of the chance to work for the local police department

“In Dillon, it seems like everyone knows each other and has each other’s back, and is more than willing to help out. You’re just surrounded by good people,” said Feathers of a feeling that’s particularly prevalent when he’s with other members of the local police department.

“The interactions the police officers have with each other, the camaraderie, they are super friendly and very welcoming. It’s usually a little awkward when you first meet a group of people. There was none of that. It was so friendly and appealing, I thought, ‘This is definitely a place I want to work,” said Feathers, who feels the same way about Dillon in general.

“And it’s nice to see the interactions the public has with the police department in Dillon— they obviously really look up to the police here, said Feathers, who recently got to ride in a patrol car one night with Dillon Police Officer Joel Stewart.

“I was asking Joel so many questions, I was like a kid in a candy shop. He was patient and answered everything. He asked if I had any more questions. I said, ‘Heck, yeah, but I’ll save them for when I see you again.’”

Feathers will see Stewart again in uniform on June 15, his first official day of work as a Dillon police officer.

The same night Feathers got approved by the city council to become Dillon’s newest police officer, Stewart gained the council’s endorsement as the new assistant police chief, based on the recommendation of Jeremy Alvarez, the veteran local law enforcement officer who last month gained the city council’s approval as Dillon’s new police chief.

“I have given this position of assistant chief a lot of careful consideration,” Alvarez advised the council last week.

“I have evaluated each of these officers and have made my recommendation for Officer Joel Stewart to be the assistant chief, effective tonight, June 1, 2022—one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make,” said Alvarez, who joined the local police department a decade ago.

“We have a very amazing police department serving this community, and that is a credit to each one of these officers serving the Dillon Police Department.”