HELENA — The Helena Police Department celebrated the career of its chief Thursday afternoon.
At around 1:30 p.m., Chief Steve Hagen made his final “10-10” call – the radio call officers make every day to dispatchers to let them know they’re safely off duty.
“Enjoy your retirement, Chief,” the dispatcher responded. “You deserve it.”
Hagen is stepping down after 30 years with HPD, including three years as its leader. The department and the city held a retirement ceremony for him at the Law and Justice Center.
Newly appointed Assistant Chief Brett Petty, who will serve as interim chief, announced Hagen’s badge number will be retired. He and City Manager Rachel Harlow-Schalk presented Hagen with a framed display, showing a uniform shirt and some of the decorations he earned during his career.
Hagen said the uniform was special to him because he made his career in the patrol division and wore it every day. He thanked his wife for her support and said he was grateful for everyone else who helped him along the way.
“The support that I’ve felt over the last few years has been great, and then having them show up and be here today for me, it was really nice,” he told MTN. “This is the one day I’m okay with being the center of attention.”
City leaders praised Hagen for his expertise and his years of dedicated service.
“The community is better with you,” said Mayor Wilmot Collins. “Because of you and what you’ve instilled in your officers, we are a team.”
Hagen initially planned to retire at the end of October, but he stayed on two months longer to help the city with the transition.
“I think that extra two months, just to help everybody catch their breath, not only helped me, but helped others at the department,” he said.
Harlow-Schalk said at a city commission meeting last week that she plans to open the chief position of applications after the first of the year. She hopes to have a new chief in place this spring.
Hagen says, now that he’s retired, he’s looking forward to spending more with his family, and hunting and fishing.