Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Two veteran lawmen seek Top Cop seat

Columbus school resource officer to battle undersheriff for sheriff seat

A Columbus police officer has joined the race to become the next Stillwater County sheriff.
Columbus School Resource Officer Gary Timm filed to run last Friday. He joins current Stillwater County Undersheriff Chip Kem as a candidate. Both men are running as Republicans.

Timm, 55, has worked for the Columbus Police Department since 1999. Prior to that, he spent 13 years as a law enforcement officer in California, where his assignments included undercover narcotics, gang/graffiti task force, drug recognition, DUI task force and a street supervisor.
He currently serves as the CPD school resource officer, which he says “has been the most rewarding assignment in my law enforcement career.”
Timm says he “started the first official reserve police officer program, which included the course curriculum and training of the six reserve officers.”
He also holds an associates degree in criminal justice from Southwestern Illinois College.
“My primary focus is more law enforcement visibility, community policing to include all first responders within our county,” said Timm. “I am running for sheriff because I feel, with my 33 years of law enforcement and training, I can make the difference needed to move forward in keeping Stillwater County a great place to live and raise a family.”
Of specific concern to Timm are drugs, which he says are getting to be a bigger problem.
“I want to utilize other agencies to help with combating this. Property crimes are increasing steadily. Thefts, burglaries, etc are a direct result of the drug problem, which unfortunately increases violent crime. I want to focus on high visibility, and community policing, including a close partnership with all of the first responders in the county.”

Kem, 48, began his law enforcement career in 1990 as a reserve officer with the CPD. A year later, he became a reserve deputy for the sheriff’s office. After putting himself through — and graduating from — Montana Law Enforcement Academy, Kem was hired as the Absarokee resident deputy, where he worked for two years before leaving the profession to help with the family business — Bob Kem Auto Repair.
Kem continued to serve as a reserve deputy. He then felt a strong call back to serve in 2001.
“After the attacks of 9/11, I felt the need to serve on a more consistent basis,” said Kem, noting that the sheriff’s office was understaffed at the time as well. “I arranged to volunteer at least one shift per week. I did this until 2008 when I made the decision to return to full-time service, with the intention of preparing myself for the time that Sheriff Brophy would retire.”
He was appointed sergeant in 2008 and was certified as a deputy coroner in 2011. In 2013, Kem was promoted to undersheriff. With a mind toward technological advances, Kem has implemented a Taser program, body cameras and the Text to 911 system, to name a handful.
Managing staff and working with budgets are also elements of Kem’s work history he points to.
“I am proud of my working relationship with our local leaders and elected officials, as well as our neighboring counties. I am dedicated to providing a high level of progressive law enforcement services to Stillwater County, said Kem.