Release of Information/ Request for Information

In the evening hours of February 6, 2013 Belgrade Police Department responded to a reported Burglary near the Belgrade High School.

On February 7, 2013 Belgrade High School was put into a Shelter in Place status until School Officials and Police Officials could assess the information known to them at that time. After several hours the School Officials released the Shelter In Place and school functioned normally.

Police Detectives and Patrol Officers from Belgrade, Bozeman and Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office continued to work on this case. Officers conducted numerous interviews and followed up multiple leads from witnesses and citizens.

On February 7, 2013 a youth suspect (Belgrade High School Student) was identified and taken into custody by the Belgrade Police Department.

Police determined that prior to the discovery of the burglary by the complainants on February 6, 2013, the suspect had removed property from the residence and returned to Belgrade High School during the school day. One of the items was a handgun.

Police investigation indicates that on February 6, 2013 the suspect did enter Belgrade High School with the handgun. The handgun was removed from the school a short time later. No School Official or Police Official had knowledge of this incident until this investigation developed and information was obtained  on February 7, 2013.

This took place at Belgrade High School and no other Belgrade School was involved. Based on the initial information, School Officials took appropriate precautions to ensure the safety of students and staff.

The youth suspect remains in custody at this time. This case is open as the investigation continues. Persons with any information on this case please contact the Belgrade Police Department Detective Division at (406)388-4262.

Belgrade School Officials and the Belgrade Police Department are very confident  in the safety measures that were taken on February 7, 2013 and that there was no threat to student or staff safety.

E. J. Clark Jr.                                    Mark Halgren                                       Russ McDaniel

Chief of Police                                   Acting Superintendent                       Principal

Belgrade Police Department          Belgrade Schools                                 Belgrade High School

Belgrade Schools – Shelter in Place

On February 7, 2013 the Belgrade High School placed the building into a SHELTER IN PLACE (SHELTER IN PLACE – is a safety procedure were students continue with classes as normal. Students are restricted to the building and the building is locked. Visitors are monitored by staff and escorted to their destination inside the school). This was brought about by a Burglary Investigation in close proximity to the Belgrade High School. This Burglary was reported in the evening hours of February 6, 2013.

At the start of school on February 7, 2013 the Belgrade Police Department was still investigating this crime. School officials were concerned with the proximity to the school and at the time rumors of student involvement choose to place the building in a SHELTER IN PLACE status.

No known threat to the school or students was present to Police or School Officials at that time. School Officials choose to be proactive and place the school building into a SHELTER IN PLACE.  At this time some other schools in the District choose to follow the lead of the High School and place their buildings into a SHELTER IN PLACE as well.

School and Police Officials have verified that no risk to students exists and the school is operating as normal.

The case is being worked by Detectives and uniform patrol officers. More information will be released at later date.

Chief E. J. Clark Jr. Belgrade Police Department

Mark Halgren, Acting Superintendent, Belgrade Schools

Russ McDaniel, Principal, Belgrade High School

National Press Conference

Sheriff Gootkin will be participating in a national press conference being held February 7th, 2013 in Washington D.C. The press conference is being sponsored by Senator Debbie Stabenow’s office. The press conference will coincide with the introduction of a bill called the Excellence in Mental Health Act. The Excellence in Mental Health Act develops federal standards for organizations that provide mental health services- by requiring a comprehensive list of intensive services, including crisis response and crisis stabilization.
This bill is a benefit for local law enforcement as it would make sure that there are mental health services available in communities and providers would get reimbursed for services.
Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office continues to lead in the collaboration of mental health and law enforcement services. This bill is an opportunity for our community to continue to provide excellent service during mental health crisis.

Two Missing Skiers at Bridger Bowl Found after Short Search

 On Saturday 02/02/13 at 6:15 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office received a report of two missing skiers in the area north of Bridger Bowl.  Bridger Bowl Ski Patrol was contacted by friends of the overdue skiers.  Bridger Bowl Ski Patrol started their investigation and found someone that had seen two skiers leave the northern boundary of the ski area and ski into Wolverine Bowl around 3:00 P.M.  A Sheriff’s Deputy Search & Rescue Coordinator was dispatched to Bridger Bowl to conduct the search, as it was outside of the ski area boundary.

 2 Sheriff’s SAR skiers that are also Bridger Bowl Ski Patrol started the search.  Bridger Bowl employees took snowmobiles to boundary and assisted with tracking down leads from the Ski Patrol Office.  During the search it was discovered the missing skiers had been able to send a text message to a friend in Bozeman, letting them know that they were stuck in the bottom of Wolverine Bowl and to send ski patrol. 

 Searchers had a difficult time tracking the skiers because of the gusty winds that were covering the skier’s tracks.  Summit Air Ambulance was requested to aid in the search of the skiers.  Shortly after arriving on scene at about 9:00 p.m. Summit Air was able to locate the missing skiers and guide Rescuers to their location.  High winds and snow prohibited Summit Air from attempting a landing.

 Rescuers were able to render the skiers aid with food and water, and guided them off the mountain.  The skiers and Rescuers were picked up by Gallatin County Deputies at the entrance to Bohart Ranch, near Bridger Bowl.  Both skiers were found in good health and did not require medical attention.  The skiers were not properly equipped for skiing that far out of bounds.  The quick reaction of their friends reporting them as missing assisted in the dispatching of needed resources and locating of the skiers.     

 Sheriff Gootkin reminds backcountry users that the areas out of bounds near Bridger Bowl often are very difficult to navigate.  He says to always;

Know the terrain

Know your limitations, and take a partner.

Snowmobiler Rescued after hitting a Tree

On February 2, 2013, at 1030 a.m., the West Yellowstone Police Department received a report of an injured snowmobiler on the Big Sky Snowmobile Trail, which is north of West Yellowstone.  

Sheriff’s Deputies, Personnel from the West Yellowstone division of Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, the U.S. Forest Service, the Hebgen Basin Fire Department, and the responded and assisted with the rescue.  

Rescuers responded on snowmobiles and when they arrived on scene they found a 63-year-old male from Mount Airy, Maryland,who had hit a tree.   He was transported out of the backcountry by the rescue team using a specialized rescue sled that is towed by a snowmobile.  He was transferred to a Hebgen Basin FireDepartment ambulance and transported to the Bozeman Deaconess Hospital.