Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - For the past three years, I’ve had the distinct pleasure and privilege of working with Montana Highway Patrol Sergeant Jay Nelson as the agency’s Public Information Officer.

I spoke to Nelson on Thursday and he told me he is stepping down from his post to take the lead security officer position at Helena’s Carroll College. Nelson said he is the first ever uniformed MHP Trooper to handle that position.

Nelson is the First Uniformed MHP Public Information Officer

“Many times I reflected over these three years saying ‘how did we go almost 85 years without a uniformed public information officer’? I just don't know how you could do it, but it's been a fun ride.”

Nelson recounted some of the more impactful incidents that occurred on his watch as the Public Information Officer.

Nelson Shared Three Impactful Stories of his Tenure as PIO

“We had a multi car, multi fatality collision,” he said. “I remember down in Hardin due to a dust storm where I had done over 40 interviews, many of which were on national news affiliates. We had our last legislative session, which as you well know, following the news, was the first time I remember in the history of the Highway Patrol that we had to arrest people inside the Capitol building, inside the chambers of our legislature.”

That particular incident surrounded the activities of Missoula representative Zooey Zephyr, where a number of people were arrested after creating a disturbance in the visitors’ area and refused to leave the chamber.

READ MORE: Winter Storm Causes 423 Crashes Says Montana Highway Patrol

Nelson Remembers One Certain DUI Arrest that 'Changed a Life'

Nelson closed the conversation by sharing a poignant memory of his over 23 years as a Montana Highway Patrolman.

“My family and I were on vacation when I received a call from somebody that I had arrested over 10 years ago for DUI,” he said. “She called me and said, ‘I just thought of you. You changed my life in my darkest hour’. And I said ‘Wow, what an amazing compliment’. We see people sometimes in their darkest hour or in situations that really are not fun, but I had to do my job to ensure the safety of the motoring public and the rewards that we get as law enforcement officers are sometimes untold.”

Nelson said his replacement has not yet been named.

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Gallery Credit: Hannah Lang

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