New cop on the beat for the Dillon Police Department

M.P. Regan
Wednesday, November 9, 2022
To serve and protect

Rodney Couture is Dillon’s newest officer with the police department. M.P. Regan photo

Rodney Couture came to Dillon because he sees it as a fine, friendly community where one can safely raise a family.

“I have been looking forward to this new chapter in my life up here, where I can enjoy living in a great place with great people,” Couture told the Dillon Tribune shortly after he gained the unanimous endorsement of the Dillon City Council for his appointment as a local police officer last week.

“I know people here are hearty and resilient and everyone will help each other,” said Couture of a characterization he finds particularly apt for his new co-workers.

“I have been able to spend some quality time with my fellow officers and they have been very helpful and accommodating. All seem humble and down to earth,” said Couture, the replacement for former police officer Kiley Smith, who left the local police department in July for a full-time job with the Montana National Guard.

Couture said he wanted to work with the Dillon Police because he sees it as a good way to maintain quality of life in Dillon.

“In law enforcement, you have the opportunity to help keep your community clean and safe for kids,” said Couture, who also transitioned his career into law enforcement for another reason— one you don’t hear a lot, but that, in his case, makes perfect sense.

“Coming to law enforcement seems like it will be less stressful,” commented Couture, comparing his new line of work to the one he just left after almost a decade of coping with a variety of uncertain situations presenting physical and psychological perils.

“Responding to emergency situations involving hazardous materials is so demanding. You’re dealing with toxins and explosives and other dangerous elements, and every situation has different factors,” said Couture of his more than nine years of working in the hazmat industry while based in California.

“I traveled around the world and was part of history with my old job,” noted Couture of the career that took him across the country and overseas to help address numerous crises, including the avian flu, COVID and plane crashes, among other dangerous challenges. “I did a little bit of everything. I was part of a special project team that would go around to deal with Explosive Ordinance Disposals,” recalled Couture of his old career, which tended to regularly subject him to potentially life-threatening dangers.

“That job was taking a big toll on me. I started seeing gray hairs, and I am only 29,” revealed Couture.

“It’s a highly demanding industry to the point where you just get burned out. A lot had to do with stress. Just moving up here relieved so much of that. My body feels euphoric in a sense,” said Couture, who followed the lead of a former work colleague—and now again current work colleague—Christopher Feathers in leaving hazmat work in California and joining the Dillon Police Department.

“I knew Chris had come up this way, so I asked him if there was anything I could do in Montana,” said Couture, who was looking for employment in Idaho in trucking, another industry he’d worked in.

“He didn’t know about any jobs in hazmat or trucking, but he knew about a job opening in the Dillon Police Department. I came to town and applied that night, and before I knew it, I was going through the process. It was something I did not expect to happen.”

Beyond the opportunity to begin in a less stressful line of work, Couture hailed another aspect of his new life in Montana you don’t often hear presented as a perk.

“I am really looking forward to the colder weather here,” insisted Couture, who toiled in the hot, dry climes of central California.

“It was so hot all summer, wearing hazmat gear all day in 100-degree weather. That sun down there roasts you,” recalled Couture of the taxing work conditions. “I am not a man of the heat,” said Couture, who will now get to enjoy Montana’s cool climes, along with its world-class opportunities to engage in his hobbies—hiking, exploring old mine shafts and going to the shooting range. Couture also likes to train in mixed martial arts. Though anyone who remembers former UFC great Randy Couture and has been wondering, no, Rodney is not related to the popular former heavyweight champion. Though he does share his nickname, “The Natural.” Dillon Police Chier Jeremy Alvarez noted Couture’s ability to effectively resolve situations involving unnatural materials in his letter to the city requesting Couture’s appointment as a police officer “Mr. Couture has a knowledge and experience with hazardous materials as a supervising first responder to these types of incidents for the past nine years,” wrote Alvarez in making a request that the mayor and city council granted at their last meeting of last month to make Couture Dillon’s newest patrol officer.

Alvarez also noted in that letter that the background check his department performed on Couture netted “very positive feedback on his demeanor, integrity, work performance and ethics.”

“Mr. Couture will immediately improve our already excellent staff,” asserted Alvarez.

“He is a great fit for our community.”