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Whitefish Police Chief Retires Abruptly

City officials announced Chief Bill Dial’s retirement in a press release Thursday; Assistant Police Chief Bridger Kelch to lead department in interim

By Tristan Scott
Whitefish Police Chief Bill Dial. Beacon File Photo

Whitefish Police Chief Bill Dial retired abruptly Wednesday afternoon and Assistant Police Chief Bridger Kelch has assumed interim responsibilities as the department’s head.

Whitefish City Manager Dana Smith announced Dial’s retirement in a press release to media outlets late Thursday. Dial, who has served as Whitefish’s police chief since 2001, did not respond to a voicemail from the Beacon, and city officials did not provide any details surrounding his retirement or the circumstances that prompted the sudden decision.

According to the release, Smith appointed Kelch as interim police chief “to lead the department while the City prepares to fill the position.”

“We have the full faith and confidence in Bridger Kelch’s ability to lead the department and ensure a seamless transition for our officers and the City,” according to a prepared statement from Whitefish Mayor John Muhlfeld. “Our citizens and residents are fortunate to be served by such a distinguished, well trained, and professional department.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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