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Newport Council to appoint Montgomery chief

Curt Montgomery

The Newport City Council is set to remove the interim tag from acting police chief Curt Montgomery next month after officials agreed to make the move in a workshop on Thursday.

Montgomery was named in September as the replacement for outgoing chief Veid Muiznieks, who retired in December. Officials said then the 15-year veteran of the Newport Police Department was appointed to bridge the gap following the longtime chief's departure and help make the transition seamless.

That's exactly what happened, said Mayor Tim Geraghty, and the council is pleased with Montgomery's stewardship of the city's small police department through what could have been a tumultuous period.

"The council is confident in Curt's ability and the job he has done," Geraghty said.

Montgomery has led a department shorthanded by as many as two officers during his three-month evaluation. Geraghty said Thursday that budget constraints would likely force Newport police to operate with seven officers for the foreseeable future, down from eight the department has employed for almost two decades.

Council members could have chosen to advertise the position, opening it up to outside candidates. Or, city administrator Brian Anderson said, the city could have extended Montgomery's probationary period and continued evaluating the interim chief.

Instead, council members will likely approve installing him as the department's new chief at the March 3 city council meeting.

"I'm very much in favor of that," said council member Corb Hopkins.

Montgomery said he's more than happy to take the job. His familiarity with the department has helped ease the change, he said, and that won't be different now that the council has elected to keep him in the chief's chair.

"Nothing's going to change," Montgomery said. "It's the status quo, basically."