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Hero Down: Hamilton Police Officer Neil Honkala Dies Unexpectedly

Corvallis, MT – Hamilton Police Department (HPD) Officer Neil Honkala died unexpectedly on May 15, according to his department.

The 56-year-old officer’s exact cause of death was not released.

“With a heavy heart, we say goodbye to our friend and colleague Neil Honkala, who passed away suddenly on 05/15/2021,” the Hamilton Police Association (HPA) wrote on a fundraising page established to help his family in the wake of their loss.

“Neil was a proud member of the Hamilton Police Department and it was our privilege to know him,” the HPA said.

Officer Honkala graduated from the police academy in Florida in 1988, and spent the rest of his life serving with law enforcement agencies in Florida and Montana, according to his obituary.

He joined the HPD on Nov. 26, 2018, and had “been providing light and dedication to the community of Hamilton ever since,” the HPA said.

In addition to his role as a police officer, Officer Honkala also served as a firearms instructor and armorer, according to his obituary.

He especially enjoyed his time as a member of the SWAT team.

Officer Honkala leaves behind his wife, Stacy, and his children, Kayla, Erica, Jacob, and Sophia, according to his obituary.

He is also survived by his mother, three brothers, one sister, and many nephews, nieces, and cousins.

The fundraising campaign established to help his family has raised over $22,000 so far.

Officer Honkala was laid to rest on May 21.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Hamilton Police Department Officer Neil Honkala, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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