Mike Tooley retires after 28 years with MHP
As we exclusively reported on Friday, after 4 years as the Chief of the Montana Highway Patrol, Colonel Mike Tooley is retiring.
Beartooth NBC's Jill Jagelski caught up with him today, as he spent his last day in uniform. As Colonel Mike Tooley spends his last day as the Montana Highway Patrol Chief, he sits in a cleaned out, empty office. While his journey has been successful, he says it is time for it to come to an end.
Tooley says, "Figure it was time to retire. I have been here 28 and 1/2 years and it just a good time in life to go and look for other things to do and to move on."
Major Tom Butler has worked with Tooley for more than 2 decades. He says he is one of the best Chief's he has ever worked for.
Butler says, "Mike is a very genuine person, he is a great guy to work for and he also has a little bit of a practical joke side to him so he keeps life interesting."
Butler says Tooley greatly impacted his career, and he is sad to see him go.
Butler says, "Colonel Tooley has been very inspirational to me, he has given me some significant opportunities that I would have never gotten had he'd not been Colonel and he is going to be sorely missed by the agency and by me as well."
Looking back on his career, Tooley says some of his best memories come from early on, when he patrolled the streets with troopers like Butler.
Tooley says, "Everybody starts out these jobs working the street and really that was the most fun I had in my entire career was working the streets and meeting the people and the citizens and trying to help them out and enforce our laws."
Even though he will leave the title of Chief behind, he says he isn't entirely ready to step away from the career he truly loves. Tooley also says he's looking forward to spending more time with his family.
Tooley says one legacy he will leave behind is a fitness program that he recently implemented to help keep troopers healthy and fit. Republican Attorney General-Elect Tim Fox is charged with the task of appointing the next Chief of the Montana Highway Patrol.
Story by Jill Jagelski, Beartooth NBC.
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