Long-time officer named new Montrose Police Chief

Blaine Hall’s story is a classic example of working your way up. Hall began his career as a police officer when the Montrose Police Dept. hired him as a patrolman in 1997. He has since been promoted to detective, sergeant, lieutenant, commander, and, as of November 2, Chief of Police. That is the day after his current boss, Chief Tom Chinn, retires.

Chinn is confident that the MPD is being left in good hands. “Blaine will do an excellent job for the City of Montrose. His resume shows numerous accolades and accomplishments including extensive education. Blaine has earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees, has attended the Northwestern School of Staff and Command, and the FBI National Academy. Blaine also served the Town of Ridgway as acting chief for several months during a time of need. I am proud of Blaine’s success and I know that he has all the ‘right stuff’ for this position.”

Hall is optimistic about improving relations between the MPD and the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office, which have been less than smooth in the past few years during a controversy over dispatcher services. One big reason is that there will soon be a new sheriff in town; MPD commander Gene Lillard, who is running unopposed in November, will be sworn in as Montrose County Sheriff in January.

Hall thinks the improvement has begun. “We’ve already experienced smoother cooperation. At the executive level, the city and county are absolutely working together in a more cooperative fashion.” For example, the County Commissioners, with the urging of current sheriff Rick Dunlap, recently signed off on a memorandum of understanding to eventually merge the Montrose Regional Dispatch Center (MRDC), run by the Sheriff’s Office, with the Western Colorado Regional Dispatch Center (WESTCO), a stand-alone facility that opened in 2016 to dispatch Montrose Police calls. WESTCO was created in response to a fight between the City and the County over proper sharing of revenues from the County’s public safety sales tax. The two governments are still working out the details of the merger.

Hall commented on the improving situation. “I know that MRDC has had some emergency situations in the operation of their center.  They have approached WESTCO to try to continue public safety dispatch for the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office and other entities that the Sheriff’s Office dispatches for. So, I know that there has been a huge collaborative effort between WESTCO and Montrose County.”

Hall’s immediate predecessor as an MPD commander was Keith Caddy, who is now a member of the Montrose Board of County Commissioners. Hall credits Caddy, fellow commissioners Roger Rash and Sue Hanson, and the WESTCO board for being very cooperative about the dispatch situation.

Hall got his new job after going through the city’s internal promotional and panel review, a process that took several weeks and involved people from the City Manager’s Office, the Legal Dept., and Human Resources.

City Manager Bill Bell said, “Hall’s knowledge and expertise in the field of law enforcement, as well as his ability to foster positive and healthy relationships with both staff and community members, will help us to continue moving the Montrose community forward.”

The Montrose Monitor asked Hall about his priorities as Chief. “My first priority will be to ensure the smooth continuity of operations. Probably for the first time in the history of the Montrose Police Department, we will have two senior executive positions to fill.” That means the MPD needs two new commanders.

Two other high priority issues for the new police chief will be drug and mental health issues in the city.

Blaine Hall is, at 44 years old, one of the youngest police chiefs Montrose has had. He is married, with two kids. In his free time, he likes to go hunting and do other forms of outdoor recreation for which Montrose is well-known.

About the author

Dave Segal

Dave Segal

Dave Segal, a Detroit native, has been a journalist since 1977. He has worked as a reporter, commentator, and news director at radio stations in Detroit, Denver, and Montrose.

Dave has been writing and editing for the Monitor since its first print issue in 2003. He is editor and senior writer for the digital magazine. On the side, Dave has also done freelance writing, media relations, and a variety of volunteer work.