The City of Bozeman has conducted a nationwide recruitment and screening process for a new Chief of Police. Overall there were 69 candidates that applied for the position after our former chief, Steve Crawford, left for a position with the Montana Department of Justice in September.

The 69 candidates were then narrowed down to six candidates who were interviewed virtually on Monday, February 22nd by an interview panel that consists of community stakeholders and City leadership.

The panel has selected the following three applicants:

  • Jim Baumstark - James “Jim” Baumstark has over 30 years of law enforcement experience, including 16 years at the executive level. Jim joined the Asheville Police Department (APD) in North Carolina as the Deputy Chief in 2015. Prior to his arrival in Asheville, he served with the Fairfax County Police Department (FCDP) in Virginia for more than 26 years. He held the rank of Captain when he left FCPD to join APD. As Captain, he oversaw all responsibilities for the Franconia District Station, Criminal Intelligence Unit, the FCPD Gang Unit, grant-funded Human Trafficking Task Force, and he served as the Director of the Northern Virginia Regional Intelligence Center. Deputy Chief Baumstark received his bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech and is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy. Jim is happily married to his wife Anne of 31 years. He and his wife have two grown children.
  • Eric Paulson - Eric Paulson has over 23 years of law enforcement experience and currently serves as Deputy Chief of Police at the Santa Ana Police Department. Deputy Chief Paulson has served in a full range of assignments including Patrol Officer, Field Training Officer, Patrol Sergeant, Detective, Detective Sergeant, Patrol Watch Commander, Investigations Commander, Special Weapons & Tactics Commander, Field Operations Bureau Chief, and Administration Bureau Chief. Deputy Chief Paulson earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Montana State University, a Master of Science in Emergency Services Administration from California State University, Long Beach and completed executive leadership training through California’s Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training, FBI – Law Enforcement Executive Development Association, and FBI – National Academy. Deputy Chief Paulson has been married to his wife, Kristi, for 24 years, and they have a daughter, Haley.
  • Jim Veltkamp - Jim Veltkamp began his career in public service in 1999 when he first joined the Bozeman Police Department, where he currently serves as the Interim Chief and Deputy Chief. Aside from his current positions, he has worked as a patrol officer, a drug detective with the Missouri River Drug Task Force, a patrol sergeant, the support services captain, and the patrol captain. Prior to working with the department, Jim worked in corporate marketing after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Jim is a graduate of the Montana Law Enforcement Academy, the Montana Executive Leadership Institute, the FBI National Academy, and is a member of the Montana Association of Chiefs of Police and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Jim has lived most of his life in the Gallatin Valley and counts it a privilege every day to raise his family here.

The three finalists will be in Bozeman for the next step in the interview process. The City of Bozeman will hold a virtual community forum on the evening of March 18th (details still to be finalized).

The public is welcome to provide feedback after the community forum and will be provided a link. The feedback will be reviewed by the City’s leadership prior to making a final decision.

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