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Mike Brady file

In this 2017 Missoulian file photo, Missoula Chief of Police Mike Brady talks to a patron of a coffee shop.

Mike Brady, Missoula's police chief for the last six years, appears to be quietly stepping away from his post.

Brady’s vacancy is posted to the jobs page of the City of Missoula’s website. It has also been posted on policeone.com since Aug. 28 and was added to national law enforcement job site policecareerfinder.com the next day. Applications close Sept. 30.

He is set to retire as chief on Dec. 31, city spokeswoman Ginny Merriam said. There was no public announcement when he decided to step down earlier this summer; Brady has not typically been the public face of the department since taking its top rung, where he supervises 110 sworn officers and 30 civilian staff, according to the job posting.

"He's been a great chief in a very challenging job," Missoula Mayor John Engen said Wednesday. "I think that he thought it was time to think about doing something else and so Mike tendered his retirement. … I think he's been a great advocate for the department."

Brady was not available for an interview Wednesday.

Engen said the chief will step into the city's long-dormant risk manager position, which officials reinstated in the coming year's budget. 

"Mike gets the release from the day-to-day stress of being a police chief in a growing city, and we get to hang on to his talent," Engen said. 

Brady has been chief of the police force since 2013, appointed by Engen to succeed Mark Muir, who had been chief since 2008.

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Last month his office secured six more officers in the city’s 2020 fiscal year budget to keep up with the city's growth. His administration procured funds for three new officers last year, as well.

Brady joined the department in 1988 as a patrol officer, the Missoulian reported in 2013. He had interned with Missoula Youth Court and Cascade County Youth Court Services before working as a deputy with the Mineral County Sheriff's Office. He is a 1983 graduate of the University of Montana. 

In 2013, Brady took over the department's daily operations even before his appointment while then-chief Muir turned his full attention to implementing changes that came out of a federal investigation into gender discrimination in the department and its handling of sexual assault cases. 

Engen said Wednesday that since that time, he would "hold our department up against any with regards to how we respond to victims of sexual violence."

"This team of officers, from Mike's level throughout the organization, have embraced those changes, and residents are far better served in our community today than they were," Engen said. 

The mayor also lauded Brady's work in establishing a "state of the art" facility on North Catlin Street, which houses the detectives unit and evidence storage. 

"He's been a City of Missoula police officer in one way or another for decades," Engen said. "That commitment is something that I, and lots of other people, should be grateful for."

Candidates for the chief's job, which has a salary range of $120,000-$135,000, need seven to 10 years of experience, a bachelor's degree and "the highest level of ethical standards and integrity."

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