The Missoula law enforcement community continues to mourn the loss of one of its own on the Clark Fork River Friday.
Former assistant police chief George Lee Meltzer and his son were fishing on a pontoon boat near the Milltown dam when coroners say Meltzer appears to have died from natural causes.
Sunday we talked to former Missoula chief of police Jim Oberhofer who was Meltzers boss and friend of many years.
Oberhofer tells us Meltzer was passionate about being a police officer. He tells says he chose Meltzer as assistant police chief because he was a hard-working and trustworthy man.
“Lee will be missed and not only by family and friends but by the citizens of Missoula and all those that have worked with him over the years,” says Oberhofer. “I personally have deep respect for Lee and will miss him greatly.”
Oberhofer tells us he and Lee worked numerous calls together and that they grew close over the years.
“Lee advanced through the department after following through his father’s footsteps, his dad was a police officer involved in the Missoula Police Department, as well as his father-in-law was with the Missoula Police Department so there was a history that Lee had there with the department,” says Oberhofer. “He had a feel for the citizens of Missoula and he was a compassionate and dedicated officer.”
He tells us Meltzer was a dedicated family man and fishermen. He tells us Meltzer encouraged his co-workers to go fishing and even taught some of them how to tie flies.
Oberhofer tells us he always listened to Meltzers advice and trusted him to help make the hard decisions.
“I took his advice on numerous, numerous occasions it was well received and well respected that you could take that information to help make your decisions in a time of decision-making,” he says. “He was a dedicated officer and in my absence Lee could step in and fill the ranks of chief without the chief even being there.”