Kalispell Officer Dies of Cancer

By Beacon Staff

A Kalispell police sergeant who was named Montana’s Officer of the Year has died after a year-and-a-half-long battle with pancreatic cancer.

Police Chief Roger Nasset says 57-year-old John Ortiz died at home Monday morning. Nasset remembered the 17-year department veteran “for his caring and compassionate demeanor, loyalty and unwavering dedication to the community.”

Nasset says Ortiz was instrumental in the development and success of the DARE anti-drug program in local schools and that the sergeant received multiple awards during his career. The honors include a lifesaving award, Kalispell Police Department Officer of the Year, and, most recently, the 2009 Montana Police Officer of the Year award.

Ortiz entered the Montana Police Academy in 1990 and was first hired by the Broadwater County Sheriff’s office. He joined the Kalispell department in 1992. Funeral services will be held Saturday.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.