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The Bozeman Police Department celebrated two promotions and a newly hired officer and doled out awards for service to officers at a Monday afternoon ceremony at the Bozeman Public Library.

Joseph Swanson was promoted from sergeant to captain of the patrol division, the department’s largest division. Swanson will now oversee the department’s seven patrol sergeants, who in turn oversee patrol officers.

Swanson has been with the department for 14 years, Police Chief Jim Veltkamp said at the ceremony. He’s held a variety of positions within the department and has shown himself to be a proactive problem-solver who inspires those around him.

“We really saw him demonstrate the ability to get a group of people working cohesively,” Veltkamp said. “(Patrol captain) isn’t an easy job, but Joe’s the one to do it.”

Prior to being on the police force, Swanson was a volunteer firefighter. He moved to the Bozeman area from the West Coast and received a bachelor’s degree from Montana State University.

Lucas Chaffins, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, was also promoted to sergeant within the patrol division to be one of the seven sergeants. Chaffins has been with the department for a decade and grew up in the Bozeman area. He leads by example, Veltakmp said, and wants to work hard to serve the Bozeman community.

“I look forward to his input, his direction and his leadership,” Veltkamp said.

The department announced the hiring of a new employee, Officer Brandon Tedder. Normally, officers aren’t sworn in until they’ve done a few weeks of training, but the timing worked out so that Tedder’s swearing in happened on his first day.

He’ll do three weeks of training with the department before going to the Montana Law Enforcement Academy in Helena for 12 weeks and returning to Bozeman for 14 more weeks of field training.

Tedder, who Veltkamp described as having “a strong sense of right and wrong,” was sworn in by City Manager Jeff Mihelich after reading the Bozeman Police Department’s Code of Ethics to the crowd of about 75 people on the library lawn.

“It’s a long code of ethics, but it is certainly a job that requires a long code of ethics,” Veltkamp said.

Veltkamp, along with the occasional help of nominating captains and sergeants, also presented a handful of service awards to law enforcement. Those awards included the Lifesaving Award for officers whose actions on a call helped save lives; Distinguished Service Awards for officers who made a positive impact in the community; and a Medal of Honor.

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Melissa Loveridge can be reached at or at (406) 582-2651.

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