EAST HELENA – East Helena’s new police chief Mike Sanders says he’s looking forward to meeting with people in the community as he starts work.
The East Helena City Council unanimously approved Sanders to take over as police chief at their meeting on Tuesday.
“I’m humbled and very honored to be chosen for this position,” said Sanders.
He was sworn in Wednesday by Attorney General Tim Fox.
Sanders, a Helena native, served with the Helena Police Department from 1993 to 1996. He then became a special agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. He spent more than 20 years with the DEA, retiring earlier this year as assistant regional director for the agency’s offices in Central America.
He said he’s grateful for the opportunity to come back to Montana.
“Montana’s always been my home, and a place my family and I have always loved to return to,” he said.
Sanders said his first priority with the East Helena Police Department will be getting to know the community and determining what their main concerns are.
“We’re looking to see what we do well, and what they would like to see us improve on,” he said. “I don’t think anybody or any department is perfect. We always strive to get better.”
Sanders is the permanent replacement for former chief Dale Aschim, who resigned last year after 10 years leading the department. Officer William Harrington, who served as acting chief after Aschim’s resignation, has now been named deputy chief under Sanders.
The department currently includes four sworn officers, including Sanders. He said they are actively looking to hire one more, and have already received a number of applications.
Mayor Jamie Schell told MTN Sanders will be paid about $52,000 a year.