Sheriff candidate Chip Kem’s personnel file shows training, commendation letters, no discipline matters
Marlo Pronovost

The News requested the personnel files from Stillwater County Sheriff candidates Chip Kem and Gary Timm.

Kem immediately granted his permission for his file to be released. The following is a summary of what is contained within the 116 pages that comprise his personnel file.


Kem put himself through the Montana Law Enforcement Academy in 1993, graduating as part of the 85th, which required 489 hours of training.

He was hired as a fulltime deputy in September 1993. After working for two years, he went to reserve status which allowed him to go to work at the family business. He returned to service full-time in 2008, and within four months, was promoted to the rank of sergeant.

Kem applied for undersheriff in May 2013, after serving in the capacity of sergeant for 4 ½ years. At that point, Kem had a total of 23 years with the sheriff’s office, including his time as a reserve deputy.

In his application letter for the undersheriff position, Kem pointed to his experience with dealing with personnel issues, writing and implementing policies and procedures, running the schedule, conducting and coordinating training, equipment purchases and preparing the annual budget. He was appointed undersheriff in May 2013.

Kem became a deputy coroner in August 2012, following a 40-hour training course.

Prior to being hired fulltime at the sheriff’s office, Kem worked part-time at the Columbus Police Department, where he patrolled and conducted criminal investigations.


Kem has completed a combination of basic, intermediate and advanced training in the following fields: Radar, child sex abuse, field tactical operations, detention officer, domestic violence, drugs, terrorism, use of deadly force, CJIN training, racial profiling, active shooter scenarios, school violence, crisis negotiation, DUI, barricaded subjects, gangs, meth lab and drug lab identification, orders of protection, Law Enforcement Information and Records Association,

Taser electronic control device and the Federal Bureau of Investigations National Incident Based Reporting System levels 1 and 2, fire service training school for traffic incident management, bloodborne pathogen exposure control, National Law Enforcement crime scene investigation, FEMA’s Incident Command System and National Incident Management System.

He holds certificates in instruction for Use of Force Simulation System, medicolegal death investigation, impact munitions and firearms.

Kem also completed the FBI Intermountain Law Enforcement Executive Command College in 2011.


The following letters of commendation or appreciation are also found in Kem’s file:

•Yellowstone Valley Gang Task Force: For providing “gang intelligence and suppression operations” during the Iron Horse Rodeo and Bridger Days in Carbon County in July 2010 on short notice, volunteering his time and participation.

•Letter of Meritorious Mast from the Yellowstone Valley Gang Task Force: For volunteering to serve as a presenter at the youth character development program entitled Camp POSTCARD in 2011 and 2012.

•Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms: For his role in the investigation of a felon in possession of a firearm who was prosecuted federally and convicted.

•Recognition for Deliberate Homicide Trial Prep: From then Undersheriff Woody Claunch commending Kem “on every action, assignment and facet of this situation that he was involved in…these issues involved included were transport of, housing for, care and supervision of and security for four out-of-state witnesses and one out-of-state law enforcement officer. Security planning was critical concerning this trial. One eye witness if harmed or intimidated, in any way, could have resulted in an extremely violent criminal going free.” Claunch also credited Kem for working “tirelessly for several weeks and shorted himself on family time to attain a very positive outcome on this major incident.”

•United States Marshal Dwight MacKay: For Kem’s role in the investigation and arrested of federal fugitive Glenn Miller in 2009.