Sheriff for a Day



On Thursday, December 4th, 2014, 8-year old David Farris will be the Sheriff for a day. We will be holding a press conference at the Detention Center at 10:00 AM to introduce him to the community. David won the “Sheriff for a day” event through an auction at the Monforton School Art Fair.

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Wives Behind the Badge


Montana Auxiliary of Wives Behind the Badge, Inc. to host Christmas Ornament Contest Newly appointed director Jae Tankink has high hopes of making her first event a successful one.  Montana Auxiliary of Wives Behind the Badge, Inc. is hosting a Christmas Ornament Contest for children this holiday season.  In collaboration with local law enforcement, kids up to 12 years of age are encouraged to decorate an ornament to be hung in the Law & Justice Center starting December 08-December 23.  A drop box will be set up at The Law & Justice Center, 615 South 16th St., Bozeman, MT. Please be sure to tag your ornament with the child’s name, age and contact information.


Ornaments will be judged by Chief of Police Ron Price and Sheriff Brian Gootkin.  The contest winner will be invited to a personal pizza party with deputies and officers.  We are proud to be able to offer this to our community” Sheriff Gootkin For more information, email Jae at or call 640-2409.

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Thanksgiving Skier in West Yellowstone Gives SAR Some Work

IMG_0248.JPG(West Yellowstone, Mont.)  On Thanksgiving day at 12:40 p.m., the Gallatin County Sheriffs Office received the report of an injured skier on the Rendezvous Ski Trail near West Yellowstone. Personnel from Sheriff’s Search and Rescue West Yellowstone Section and the U.S. Forest Service responded to the scene. Upon arrival they found a 63-year old male from Bend, Oregon who had suffered a hip injury sustained from a fall while skiing. He was transported by the rescue team using a specialized rescue sled to a waiting Hebgen Basin Fire Department ambulance in West Yellowstone. He was then transported by ambulance to the Madison Memorial Hospital in Rexburg, Idaho.

Sheriff Gootkin said this is the second injured skier so far this season in West Yellowstone.  He reminds everyone that avalanche danger is high very early this season and back country users should be extra careful.  Rapidly changing weather conditions are another thing that gets people in trouble this time of year.  Make sure to have extra clothing, a reliable form of communication and always, always – know your limits, know the terrain and take a partner.  #####


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Search and Rescue on Boundary Trail

On Tuesday, November 25, 2014, at approximately 11:37 a.m., the Gallatin County  Sheriff’s Office, West Yellowstone Search and Rescue, and Forest Service Personnel received a report that a 17 year-old female cross country skier had injured her knee 3.5 miles north of the town of West Yellowstone.

The skier was cross country skiing with her parents on the Boundary Trail when she fell and twisted her knee, also sustaining a cut on the same knee.  She was unable to ski out and her parents were able to contact 911 dispatchers by cell phone to report the incident and request assistance.

Search and Rescue personnel were able to quickly locate the skier via a snowmobile with a rescue sled attached and a tracked ATV.  The skier was placed into the rescue sled and transported to an awaiting ambulance where she was treated for minor injuries and released.

The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind all backcountry enthusiasts to remember to take the proper safety equipment, first aid kits, proper clothing and gear, and a reliable source of communication when enjoying Montana’s many outdoor opportunities.  Even if you are headed out for just a few hours, an injury, severe weather or a wrong turn could become life threatening. A relatively simple trip can easily turn into something much more without the proper equipment and the knowledge of how to use it.

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You Choose: Drink OR Drive




[Bozeman, Montana]—The holiday season is right around the corner. As Americans prepare for festivities with family and friends, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wants to remind all drivers that it’s dangerous to drive after drinking. You have to choose your role before drinking begins: will you drink or will you drive? Remember, even if you only have a little bit to drink and think you’re “okay to drive,” you could still be over the legal limit, because Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.


Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin explained the slogan: “A lot of folks think they know their own limits. They think that if they’re just a little ‘buzzed,’ then they’re still good to drive.” But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Captain Steve Crawford of the Bozeman Police Department added, “Not only does alcohol impair your ability to drive, it impairs your ability to assess whether you are able to drive.  Designate a sober driver before you drink.”


In every state in the country, it’s illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher. And for some people, it doesn’t take much to reach that level. “We really want all drivers to understand that you don’t have to be falling-down drunk to be too impaired to drive,” said Sergeant Dustin Lensing of the Belgrade Police Department.  That’s why our local law enforcement agencies are working with NHTSA to spread the message: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.


This anti-drunk-driving campaign aims to inform all Americans about the dangers of driving after drinking—even after drinking just a little. Drunk driving has become a terrible killer on our nation’s roads. Every year, more than 10,322 people are killed by drunk drivers in America. This time of year is especially dangerous due to holiday celebrations and frequent parties. In December 2012 alone, there were 830 people killed in crashes involving at least one drunk driver or motorcycle operator. On average, a third (31%) of all crash fatalities in America involves drunk driving.


So this holiday season, NHTSA urges you to plan ahead: designate a sober driver. If you plan on drinking at all, don’t plan on driving. Don’t just assume that you’ll know whether you can safely drive or not at the end of the night.


Gallatin County drivers, please remember these tips to avoid a DUI and keep our roads safe:


  • Even one drink can impair your judgment and reaction time and increase the risk of getting arrested for driving drunk or having a crash.
  • If you will be drinking, plan ahead; designate a sober driver before the party begins.
  • When you know you’ll be drinking, leave your keys at home or give them to someone else.
  • If you have been drinking, do not drive—even a short distance. Call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member, or use public.
  • Remember, it is never okay to drive after drinking. Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.
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Belgrade Police Respond to shooting

On November 21, 2014 at 0128 hrs. the Belgrade Police received  report of an individual who had been shot in the 100 block of 7th Street in the City of Belgrade. Officers from the Belgrade Police Department, Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office and the Montana Highway Patrol responded as well as medical staff from Central Valley Fire and AMR.

Upon arrival officers met with an adult male victim who had suffered a gun shot wound. The circumstances surrounding the shooting are still under investigation at this time. Belgrade Police Detectives and Officers are working diligently to obtain as much information as possible on suspects and circumstances surrounding this incident.  No further information is available at this time.

The victim is recovering at the hospital at this time.

Anyone who may have information is asked to please contact the Belgrade Police Department at 388-4262.



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New Disaster Welfare Inquiry Tool

GCEM Media Release

Contact:  Patrick Lonergan, (406) 582-2350
Release:  141104-01

New Disaster Welfare Inquiry Tool

Bozeman, MT – Facebook recently released Safety Check to help obtain the status of those in the area of large disasters.  Sharing the status of those affected by disasters is often a frustrating experience for those affected as well as their family and friends trying to find out if they are ok.  The process of helping people find out the status of loved ones in the affected disaster area is typically referred to as Disaster Welfare Inquiries and is often challenging due to people being displaced and communication systems being overloaded.

Safety Check automatically opens a message in Facebook for those in the affected area of a disaster asking if they are ok.  The user can then select a couple options such as “I’m Safe or I’m Not in the Area.”  After selecting an option their selection is posted to their Facebook Timeline as a special post for their friends to see.  Facebook users are recommended to become familiar with this feature so they recognize it in the case they, or a family member, uses is someday.  While not a perfect solution, this provides another tool for those in disasters to communicate with their family quickly and effectively.

More information is available at:



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Search and Rescue of a Hypothermic Hunter

On Sunday, October 26, 2014, at approximately 11:52 a.m., the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, West Yellowstone Search and Rescue, and Forest Service Personnel received a report that two hunters had encountered a severely hypothermic hunter in the Beaver Creek drainage which is approximately 21 miles northwest of West Yellowstone.

The hunters discovered the 78 year-old male approximately 3 miles from the Beaver Creek Trailhead. One of the hunters was able to start a warming fire while the other walked out to the trailhead and contacted the rescue team.

Once on scene, the team was able to transport the recovering hunter via horseback to an awaiting ambulance that then transported the hunter to Madison Valley Medical Center where he was treated for mild frostbite and dehydration.

The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind hunters to take the proper safety equipment first aid kits, proper clothing and gear when enjoying Montana’s scenic by-ways.  Even if you are headed out for just a few hours, an injury, severe weather or a wrong turn could become life threatening. A relatively simple trip can easily turn into something much more without the proper equipment and the knowledge of how to use it.

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Suspect Arrested in Heritage Christian Arson Fires


(Gallatin County, Mont.) 25 year old Zachary James Silflow a resident of Gallatin County was arrested this evening by Sheriff’s Detectives.  He has been charged with 2 counts of Arson and Burglary related to the Heritage Christian School fires early this morning and in 2012.  He has been booked into the Gallatin County Detention Center and will have an initial appearance in Justice Court early next week.  #####

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Suspect information on Heritage Christian School Arson

IMG_0248.JPG(Gallatin County, Mont.) The Sheriff’s Office is asking for help in identifying the person in the attached photographs and video.  He is a suspect in the fire that occurred in the early morning of Friday October 24, 2014.  Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 406-582-2121 or Crime Stoppers at 406-586-1131.  A cash reward may be offered for information leading to the apprehension and conviction of the person responsible.

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