In this episode, Eric speaks with Frank Garner, 4th term State Representative of House District 7 and former Kalispell Police Chief. Frank discusses his thoughts on the current state of policing, how he approached his leadership role as police chief, and how he used the lessons from Leadership Montana during a one year stint training police in Afghanistan in 2005. Frank also reflects on state politics, leadership, and the future of Montana. Frank is a graduate of the inaugural class of Leadership Montana in 2005 and is passionate about leaving the world in a better place than he found it – or as he says in this episode, planting trees that will provide shade for people he will never meet.
Eric, a graduate of Leadership Montana Class of 2016 and Masters Class 2019, leads this project with an unmatched curiosity and thirst for learning how each interviewee leans into leading. Eric magically brings to life the story underneath the words and weaves together a series that perfectly illustrates the meaning and value of listening deeply. Originally from Billings, Eric currently resides in Missoula where he serves as the Communications and Development Administrator for Partnership Health Center.
Frank Garner was raised in Kalispell, Montana, where he graduated from Flathead High School and Flathead Valley Community College. He became a member of the Kalispell Police Department in 1986, where he worked in the patrol division. Frank served in a number of roles throughout his career, including as a County Drug Team Agent, Shift Supervisor, Detective, SWAT Team Leader, and in 1997 he was promoted to Chief of Police.
As Chief of Police, Frank initiated an aggressive community policing philosophy that led to a number of beneficial programs, including Kalispell’s Meeting on Meth, the Major Case Unit, the School Resource Officer Program, and the Police Advisory Council. After nearly nine years as Chief, Frank retired and took a position as a Police Advisor in Afghanistan, where he served as a mentor to Afghan Police, a police trainer at the Jalalabad Regional Training Center, and later as the Professional Police Mentor Supervisor in the Afghan capital of Kabul. Frank went on to serve as the Chief of Security for the local hospital and then transitioned into private law enforcement and security consulting.
Frank has a long record of public service that includes membership in the Evergreen Lions Club, The Kalispell Rotary Club, and Big Brothers and Sisters. Frank is now in his fourth term as a Montana State Representative for House District 7 and currently serves as Chair of the Montana ARPA Health Commission as well as serving on the Health and Human Services interim budget committee.