A little love for the protectors

3 local LEOs recognized for their service
Marlo Pronovost
Thursday, November 21, 2019
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Three Stillwater County law enforcement officers have recently been recognized on a bigger stage for their public service.

Stillwater County Sheriff’s Deputy Cactus Anderson last month was chosen as a top first responder in a pilot program conducted by the Billings Gazette designed to let the public identify law enforcement officers (LEOs), fire crews and ambulance crews they admire in their respective communities.

Undersheriff Randy Smith and Columbus Police Officer Gary Timm were selected as two of 12 LEOs featured in the 2020 Mason Moore Foundation calendar. Sales from the calendars go directly back into Montana law enforcement. Moore was a Broadwater County Sheriff’s deputy who was assassinated in his patrol car during a pursuit and gunfight in 2017. The deputy’s widow, Jodi Moore, created the Mason Moore Foundation and through it, works tirelessly to educate and bridge the gap between the police and communities. The calendars are one such project. This year, 10 percent of the calendar sales will be given to the wife and children of fallen Gallatin County Sheriff’s Deputy Jake Allmendinger who was killed last month in a freak car accident trying to reach a motorist in trouble on a mountain road.



Mason Moore is a name carried close to the heart of every law enforcement officer in Montana. This is the third year that the Mason Moore Foundation has produced a calendar, hand-choosing officers to appear in it.

Smith is a friend of Carbon County Sheriff’s Deputy Ben Mahoney and Broadwater County Sheriff’s Deputy Brandon Harris. Mahoney and Harris are “Law Enforcement Advisors” for the Mason Moore Foundation. Last year, the three men took Jodi and Mason’s sons hunting. Just last weekend, the men and boys went on another hunting excursion.

“So that is how we met Randy and because of that association and his help and support of our family, I asked him to be in the calendar,” Jodi Moore told the News last week.

Smith has worked for the sheriff’s office for 15 years, having started out as a dispatcher, then a reserve deputy. He was the K9 handler for eight years and worked with two different dogs — Jordy and Figo. In 2016, he was promoted to sergeant, and in January 2019, was promoted again to undersheriff.

In the calendar, he is asked why he chose law enforcement as a career.

“I have always wanted to work in public service. I started my career as a firefighter and was influenced by my brother to get into the law enforcement profession. I enjoy the challenges of the job,” said Smith.

When asked what one thing he would tell the public about being a police officer, Smith said the following:

“Thank you for your support. This career has been challenging but rewarding.”

Smith and his wife, Suzi, are raising three children — Claire, Gracie and Tyce.

Jodi Moore said the foundation worked with the Columbus Police Department in the grant process, as well as other ways the foundation might be able to help in the community.

“I reached out to Jacob (Ward) and told him we would be in the area and asked if he had someone that would want to be in the calendar. That is how we met Gary,” said Jodi Moore.

Timm began his career in law enforcement in Davis, Calif., and so far, has put in 35 years. He has worked bike patrol, undercover narcotics, gang units and has been a field-training officer.

He is currently the Columbus School Resource Officer and on occasion, gets to work with his son, Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Branden Timm.

On choosing a career in law enforcement, Timm’s calendar page states the following:

“I had two older brothers who were police officers and were instrumental in my decision. I knew from a very young age that is what I wanted to do, and pursued it after college.”

His calendar page also contains the following information regarding what he wants the public to know about being a police officer:

“We live our lives the same way as the people we serve. We have families, our emotions are the same and sometimes we make mistakes. We must make life and death decisions within a fraction of a second and pray we made the right choice. We become police officers, deputies, troopers, etc., because we want to make a difference in this world, in whatever that may be, big or small.”


Like Smith and Timm, Deputy Anderson knew he wanted to be a deputy by the time he was in grade school. Anderson began by working as an EMT and he continues to work as a paramedic for Columbus Fire Rescue.

Arriving on scenes to care for victims after something had already happened pushed Anderson toward law enforcement, where he often has the opportunity to respond to a situation and potentially stop it before someone gets hurt.

In 2011, he became a reserve deputy with the sheriff’s office. In 2012, he was hired as a Yellowstone County Sheriff’s deputy. In 2016, he was hired as a fulltime Stillwater County Sheriff’s deputy and one year later, became the K9 officer.

“I love what I do,” said Anderson, adding that he works with a tremendous team of law enforcement.

He and K9 Figo work drug interdiction at least one day a week. When looking back over his career thus far, Anderson recalls specific people who have helped him strengthen the many areas a cop needs to be strong with — drug and DUI investigations, controlling a scene while keeping himself safe and good K9 handling practices.

He points to his coworkers as being a good source of support, as are his wife, Niki,  and children, Jayden and Jett.