Laurel’s newest police officer achieving her dream

By 
CHRIS McCONNELL
Outlook staff writer
Thursday, April 16, 2020
Outlook photo by Chris McConnell Billings West graduate Haley Swan is Laurel’s newest police officer. She travels to the Law Enforcement Academy in Helena this weekend and will be on duty in Laurel later this summer.

Outlook photo by Chris McConnell

Billings West graduate Haley Swan is Laurel’s newest police officer. She travels to the Law Enforcement Academy in Helena this weekend and will be on duty in Laurel later this summer.

Rookie police officer Haley Swan is thrilled to start her career in Laurel and is one of the few female officers in the history of the Laurel Police Department.

Patrolman Swan grew up in Yellowstone County and graduated from Billings West in 2013. She was part of the Golden Bears’ successful basketball and softball teams throughout high school and recruited to the Dawson Community College Buccaneer softball team. She was on scholarship as a catcher before she transferred to the University of Great Falls (now University of Providence). Swan played softball for the Argonauts one year before returning to Billings where she graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from MSU–B.

“I entered college for Elementary Education but decided that wasn’t the career I wanted to pursue. I’ve had role models who were police officers and have always looked up to them,” she said.

Swan said a former Laurel police officer was instrumental in helping her choose a career in law enforcement. “He put me in a cop car and showed me the ropes.”

She interned at LPD during her senior year of college to see if she would be able to handle the job, and learned she loved it. “I had a full–time job at the time but still came in and volunteered.”

After graduation she worked as a corrections officer at the Montana State Women’s Prison which she called a valuable learning experience. “It’s a good stepping stone for a police officer. I learned a lot about stress management and communication skills. I don’t think I would be half the law enforcement officer if I didn’t work there.”

Patrolman Swan applied to several police departments around the state and said she had half a dozen interviews before she was hired at LPD. “April 6 was my first official day and I leave for the academy in Helena on the 19th,” she said.

If all goes well, she will graduate sometime in late June and then return to Laurel for 16 weeks of duty with a Field Training Officer. After that she said she will be on her own but will have an observer with her for a couple of weeks before she is on patrol as a full–fledged member of the department.

Right now Swan just wants to be a police officer, but in the future she is eyeing detective work or a Student Resource Officer position.

“I love being around kids and am interested in the investigative parts of law enforcement.”

Swan said she has had much encouragement from those close to her. “I want to thank my friends and family for all their support from the beginning.”

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