Jaeson White is one of the five finalists for the position of Missoula Chief of Police, and he hails from California where he has spent most of his career in the Highway Patrol.

KGVO News spoke with White as he was about to appear before city officials and the public in the Sophie Moiese Room in the Missoula County Courthouse.

White was asked what led to him applying for the position here in Missoula.

“My wife and I have traveled through this part of the country numerous times and we just fell in love with Montana,” said White. “When this offer presented itself, I know it was just time to go. I like the progressive attitude and forward thinking of Missoula, and would really like to be a part of the community.”

White described his law enforcement experience in California.

I have a total of 28 years of law enforcement experience,” he said. “I have four years as a deputy probation officer and 24 years with the California Highway Patrol.”

White said there will always be a period of adjustment with any new chief.

“With any new chief that’s coming in, it’s that change of management piece,” he said. “We’ll be establishing relationships with the community, with the department, and them getting to know the new chief, as well as the chief getting know the community.”

White said ‘officer wellness’ would be a main theme of his administration if he is selected for the position.

“Officer wellness is extremely important to me,” he said. “When I was a sergeant, I had an officer who committed suicide. It is near and dear to my heart to take care of officers, and their families, because it’s not just the officers but their families that need that care from the difficult job that we do, so I want to make sure that we have the programs in place, such as peer support and employee assistance programs for them when they need that assistance.”

The new chief will replace Mike Brady who retired in late November. Captain Mike Colyer has been the interim chief through the selection period.