MHP and GCSO Investigating early morning crash


This morning at 0115 hours, a Bozeman Police Officer attempted to conduct a traffic stop of a vehicle which failed to stop at a red traffic light westbound at 19th and Main. The vehicle did not yield and made a right turn on to North 20th Avenue and accelerated rapidly northbound. The vehicle hit two trees before colliding with a power pole in the southwest corner of the Town and Country Foods (219 N 19th) property.  

Officers rendered aid to the 20-year old driver until medical responded.  The Montana Highway Patrol was called in to investigate the crash.  MHP notified the Gallatin County Detective Division who also responded.



Counterfeit Currency



During the week of 01-24-16, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office received reports of at least 3 counterfeit one hundred dollar bills passed in the Big Sky area. The bills were passed in more than one business. Due to surveillance cameras in one of the local businesses a description of the two individuals and their vehicle were made available.  Upon further investigation and surveillance the two individuals were caught as they passed another counterfeit bill in one of the same businesses.  The investigation is still pending at this time.


If anyone or any business experiences having accepted a counterfeit bill they are advised to contact the Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Gootkin recommends businesses educate themselves in detecting counterfeit currency.  He also suggests businesses obtain a special marking pen which detects counterfeit bills to avoid accepting them.


Victim Identified


On October 5th, 2015 the Coroner’s Office responded to a fatality accident at Mile Marker 23 of the Frontage Road.  The victim has been identified as 70-year old Michael Paul Hockel of Bozeman.  The Montana Highway Patrol is investigating the circumstances surrounding the accident.


Rescue of Injured Bicyclist in Big Sky



On August 19th, 2015, at approximately 1427 hours, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office and Big Sky Fire Department received a call in reference to a 38 year old male, who was injured during a mountain bike accident on an unknown trail near Andesite Road.

Members of the GCSO Communications Center were able to triangulate the victim’s cell phone and obtain a possible location.

Members of the Sheriff’s Office and Fire Department quickly responded to the area; however it was quickly determined that the terrain was not conducive for a vehicle extraction.  A page for assistance was put out to GCSO Big Sky Search & Rescue and an expedient response was received from several members.

A back country rescue operation was organized and members quickly set out to make contact with the victim.  Members familiar with the area determined it could not be reached with any type of ATV or rescue vehicle and set out on foot.  Upon reaching the victim, it was determined that the rescue helicopter, (Summit Air), could not be utilized because of the steep terrain.

Paramedics along with Search & Rescue determined the patient was stable for transport and carried the subject down the steep and rocky terrain.  The patient was carried to an awaiting ambulance and transported to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital for treatment.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin would like to remind mountain bikers to avoid common mistakes that can arise, such as not knowing your location and not bringing a map. If you’re lost it’s also important to stay calm and aware by ensuring adequate calorie intake, taking frequent rest breaks and staying warm. Becoming cold, hungry and thirsty reduces you’re awareness at which point you begin to make bad decisions. Bad decisions can lead to bad days. ####



Press Conference Today


A press conference will be held today (Thurs. July 16th) at 3:00 p.m. at the Gallatin County Detention Center, Community Room, to update the media on the investigation into the missing person case regarding Dr. Patrick Fitzpatrick.

Deputies Investigate Reported Gunshot Wound


On July 8th, deputies were dispatched to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital for a 23-year old  male with a gunshot wound of the abdomen. The investigation determined the victim had been playing with the gun by spinning it around on his finger. The weapon fired, striking him in the abdomen. Witnesses on scene drove the man to the emergency room. The victim did not sustain life-threatening injuries.



Phone Scam



The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office has recently learned of a new telephone scam involving unknown subjects contacting local residents advising them that their power will be shut off.  The subjects are identifying themselves as NorthWestern Energy employees or representatives and demanding customers obtain a reloadable debit card and contact a 1-800 number with the card information.  This is not NorthWestern Energy’s procedure and anyone receiving such a call should recognize this as a scam and not reply.


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.

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.

Click It, Don’t Risk It



 Media Release

May 12, 2014

 Seat belt enforcement hits high gear

Annual “Click It, Don’t Risk It” Campaign

Almost 50 law enforcement agencies across the state are adding patrols for the “Click It, Don’t Risk It” high-intensity traffic enforcement period May 19 through June 1. Motorists throughout Montana should be aware of heightened enforcement.

The national seat belt campaign is timed to reach motorists as the summer travel season begins around Memorial Day.

Bozeman police officers and Gallatin County sheriff’s deputies will add overtime shifts for the increased enforcement. The law enforcement agencies will combine efforts to cover back roads and rural areas as well as city streets.

“Most of Montana’s vehicle fatalities occur in rural areas,” said Sheriff Brian Gootkin. “A lot of them are single-vehicle rollovers where a seat belt is the primary factor that makes a difference between life and death. Our deputies have responded to those crashes.  We remind people to buckle up, every trip, every time. We want our citizens to have a safe Memorial Day Weekend.”

Bozeman Police Deputy Chief Rich McLane added, “Every day our officers see how seat belts save lives and minimize serious injuries at crashes.  Our partnership with Montana Department of Transportation gives our officers the opportunity to proactively change driver behaviors and save lives.”

Increased seat belt use is key to preventing crash deaths and injuries—especially among teens and young adults. People age 15 to 29 accounted for 40 percent of the severe injuries and 26 percent of the fatalities resulting from motor vehicle crashes in Montana in 2012. Those age 18 to 25 are the group with the highest fatality crash rate in Montana over the last ten years—a rate fueled by the fact that 85 percent of the fatalities in this age group were not wearing a seat belt, or not wearing it properly, at the time of their crash.

Overtime patrols for traffic safety enforcement are funded by the Montana Department of Transportation. High-visibility enforcement is one of the overall strategies employed in Montana’s Vision Zero—working together to eliminate deaths and injuries on Montana roadways. In addition to enforcement, Vision Zero also emphasizes education, engineering of safer roads, and support for emergency medical response.


Sheriff Brian Gootkin (406-582-2125)

Deputy Chief Rich McLane (406-582-2000)