Gallatin County Sheriff/Coroner’s Office


Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office received a report on Monday, Feb. 25th  of a white vehicle, possibly a Honda or Subaru with front end damage, driving slow and possibly following a student in the River Rock area.  No license plate, description of the driver or occupants was provided.  There was no contact made between the vehicle and the student.  Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office deputies have been patrolling the River Rock area and all schools through out the county, and will continue extra patrols.  As always everyone should be alert to their surroundings and report any suspicious activity to Law Enforcement.


Gallatin County Sheriff  (406) 582-2100


Gallatin County Sheriff/Coroner’s Office


On 2/26/13 West Yellowstone Dispatch received an emergency call for an injured snowmobiler on the Two Top Trail, near junction eight.  WY Search and Rescue, US Forest Service, Yellowstone National Park and Gallatin County Sheriff’s personnel were assigned to the event.  Upon arrival it was found the victim had died despite resuscitative efforts of family members and friends on scene. A Deputy Coroner for Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death.  The victim was identified as 66 year old Daniel Conniff of Brownsville, MN.

Snowboarder Rescued after Crash in Hyalite


(Bozeman, Mt.) Friday afternoon at 4:25 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office received a report of an injured snowboarder in the area South of Hyalite Reservoir. Sheriff’s Search & Rescue, Rae Sourdough Fire and AMR responded to the call.

The injured snowboarder was a 22 year old male from Bozeman that had been boarding with four others in a popular area near the Window Rock Cabin known for its natural jumps. During a jump the skier landed wrong and injured his back.

Initial responders located the injured male and were able to stabilize and warm him until further assistance arrived. Search & Rescue and Rae Sourdough personnel moved the skier with a transport sled approximately two tenths of a mile through waist deep snow to Hyalite Road. The skier was then turned over to AMR and transported to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital.

Sheriff’s Deputy and Incident Command Brandon Kelly said, “The quick response of the injured skier’s friends in calling for help aided the Sheriff’s Office and emergency services in performing their job in a quick and safe manner. It is important to remember to have the proper equipment (food, water, extra clothing, emergency beacon, shovels, etc) when recreating in the back country because even a planned short outing can turn hazardous.”

Photo courtesty of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office (if you have trouble with the image go to #####

Rescuers reach the road after evacuating injured snowboarder

Bozeman Man Survives Avalanche on Bridger Peak

(Bozeman, Mt.) A 26 year old Bozeman man is at Deaconess Hospital after surviving being buried in an avalanche today in the Bridger Mountains south of Bridger Bowl.  At 2:45 p.m. today Bridger Bowl contacted the Sheriff’s Office to report a man injured in an avalanche near Bridger Peak.  2 off duty ski patrollers from Bridger and at least one other were back country skiing with the man when he was caught and buried.  His partners were able to quickly dig him out and assess his condition which included a serious leg injury.  They then made cell phone contact with Bridger Bowl who called the Sheriff’s Office.  Sheriff’s Search and Rescue launched Summit Air Ambulance as well as other units capable of accessing the high snow country.   Members of the man’s party were experienced with helicopter operations and were able to secure a landing zone for the air ambulance.  He was loaded and transported directly to the hospital. 

Sheriff Gootkin said this man is very lucky.  To be in the hospital less than an hour from the time of the call after being caught in an avalanche is remarkable.  This is the result of a very capable SAR program and it’s volunteers.  He owes the most to his partners who dug him out and made the call.   Having at least one partner with you when you travel the back country is critical to survival.  He also said that 911 is the number to call for back country help but to not rely only on cell service in the mountains where it is spotty at best.  For a detailed account of the avalanche check  the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center at tomorrow.  ######

Snowmobile Crash North of Bridger Bowl Sends one Man to the Hospital.


(Bozeman) – Sheriff’s Search and Rescue workers were called to the Brackett Creek trailhead a little after 12:00 this afternoon following a report of a 63 year old male involved in a snowmobile crash.

According to Sheriff’s Deputy and Incident Commander Matt Boxmeyer, a 63 year old male from Belgrade was riding with a party of five other snowmobilers, failed to negotiate a switchback curve on Brackett Creed Road. The rider and his machine came off the road and crashed approximately 15 to 20 feet downhill on a rock slide in timber, sustaining face and head injuries.

23 Search and Rescue volunteers 2 Deputies and a US Forest Service law enforcment officer responded to the scene. The patient was stablized at the crash site, placed on backboard and brought up to the road. He was then taken approximately 2 miles by Search and Rescue to the trailhead and transported to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital by AMR.

The crash remains under investigation.

“As we mentioned yesterday,” says Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin, “This holiday weekend is a busy one for us. When you’re out having fun snowmobiling in the backcountry, be sure and keep a few things in mind:”

·         Always ride under control, and avoid excess speed.

·         Be aware of the terrain you are riding in and be ready for that terrain to change.

·         Be sure you are wearing all of your personal protective gear properly.

“This is a great place for outdoor fun,” says Gootkin. “We just want to make sure you have fun safely.” #####

The Start of a Busy Rescue Weekend


(West Yellowstone, Mont.) Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Units were called into service twice so far today for what is usually a busy Presidents Day weekend in the South of Gallatin County.  At 1:30 p.m., the West Yellowstone Police Department received a report of an injured cross country skier on the Rendezvous Ski Trail near West Yellowstone.  Personnel from the West Yellowstone division of Sheriff’s Search and Rescue with a Sheriff’s Deputy responded to the rescue.  Rescuers responded on snowmobiles and when they arrived on scene they found a 58-year-old female from Idaho Falls, Idaho, with a broken wrist.  She was transported back to West Yellowstone and went to the hospital by private vehicle.

 At 2:44 p.m., the West Yellowstone Police Department received a report of an injured snowmobiler on the Old Airport, which is on the west edge of West Yellowstone.  SAR personnel this time with the assistance of Yellowstone National Park Rangers, responded.  Rescuers responded on snowmobiles and a special tracked ATV.  When they arrived on scene they found a 38-year-old male from Forsyth, Montana, who had lost control of his snowmobile, was ejected, and suffered a head injury.  The snowmobiler’s helmet had flown off during the accident because the chin strap was not secured.   He was packaged onto the rescue sled and transported to West Yellowstone.  He was then transferred to a Hebgen Basin Fire Department ambulance and transported to the Bozeman Deaconess Hospital.

 Sheriff Gootkin stated that this is traditionally a busy weekend for Deputies and Rescuers and that back country users should take extra precautions because of the number of people using the great things this county has to offer.  Wear all your safety gear  and wear it correctly.  Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.  Know your limitations and the limitations of your equipment.  Know the terrain and if you have an emergency call for help early.  #####

Gallatin County Sheriff/Coroner’s Office


On February 14, 2013, at 6:51 p.m., the 911 Center received a report of a stranded snowmobiler on the Big Sky Snowmobile Trail, which is north of West Yellowstone.  The forty-eight year old Bozeman man had snowmobiled with his wife and son to the Cabin Creek Cabin, which is a U.S. Forest Service cabin that the public can rent.  He then returned to their vehicle on Highway 191 to get additional equipment.  As he was returning to the cabin, he had a tow sled with supplies behind his snowmobile.  The snowmobile overheated and quit running.   

Personnel from the West Yellowstone division of Gallatin County Search and Rescue and the Gallatin County Sheriffs Office responded.  Search and Rescue members assisted the snowmobiler with the overheating issue, towed his equipment trailer, and escorted him to the cabin so he could spend the rest of Valentine’s Day with his family.

Gallatin County Sheriff/Coroner’s Office


As the Gallatin County Sheriff and Vice President of the Montana Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (MSPOA), I have received many emails and phone calls concerning gun control.  The MSPOA has written a letter addressing these concerns, which I endorse.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. 

 Sheriff Brian M. Gootkin
Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office
615 South 16th
Bozeman, MT  59715
(406) 582-2125
Fax    582-2126

Sheriffs & Peace Officers Association

The Montana Sheriffs & Peace Officers Association (MSPOA) is committed to public safety, and each of our members has taken an oath to uphold and protect the Constitution of the State of Montana and the United States Constitution, including the Second Amendment.

The MSPOA believes in the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, which guarantees the right of the people to keep and bear arms and that this right shall not be infringed. It is important to note that no legislation affecting this right has been introduced.

As our state and country continue to discuss and debate gun control legislation, the position of our association remains steadfast: the MSPOA will not waver in our defense of the Constitution and will stand to preserve our constituents’ right to possess firearms and the protections insured by the other nine amendments contained in the Bill of Rights.

The MSPOA feels that any legislation that takes away constitutional protections, including gun rights, from law-abiding citizens will not alleviate or eliminate the threat from violent or mentally ill individuals. In fact, it would expose our law-abiding neighbors to violence with fewer resources to counter them with.

America has endured violent assaults of children and adults at the hands of criminals who have used firearms as well as other weapons. The MSPOA does not believe that it is the fault of the weapon, but that of the often mentally disturbed individual who wields it. The MSPOA has long supported the efforts of the mental health community and will continue to do so.

As professional peace officers, elected and sworn to uphold both the State and U.S. Constitutions, we additionally believe in the importance of the division of power and roles of each of the three branches of government, at both the state and federal level. MSPOA feels that now is the time to discuss violence in its totality, not simply as an issue of “gun” violence. Violence is a result of a breakdown on many fronts: family, gangs, drugs, lack of proper mental health treatment, and the proliferation of violence in media, just to name a few. The discussion must include stakeholders from all disciplines who are dedicated to and willing to address the myriad and complex issues related to the safety of our communities and our country.

 The MSPOA remains committed to the safety of the citizens of the State of Montana. We will dedicate our efforts toward active participation in the legislative process and the protection of the rights of the people of our state. We welcome and encourage our neighbors’ active participation in this process as well. As Congress and the Montana legislature debate issues surrounding violence, the Second Amendment, and gun rights, the MSPOA will insure that our voices will be heard.


Two Skiers Survive Avalanche and Overnight Stay in Hyalite

(Bozeman, Mont.) On Saturday night February 09, 2013, at 10:35PM, The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office received a call reporting two overdue backcountry skiers. The skiers had planned on skiing the Blackmore Trail near Hyalite Dam and told a sister to expect them back in the evening. When they had not returned by 10:00 the sister called the Sheriff’s Office. Approximately 30 Search and Rescue Volunteers responded to the call. The snow fall and wind overnight in the area prevented searchers from doing a complete search last night but a full scale search was started at 5:30AM.  The skiers were located around 8:30AM as they were making their way down the mountain.

 The 2 male skiers, one from Big Timber and one from Idaho reported that they triggered an avalanche and one was swept down a couple hundred vertical feet. During the slide the skier lost a ski and was not able to descend the mountain due to the weather conditions. The skiers attempted to build a fire but were not able to and spent the night sheltered behind a rock. They began their descent at day break. The avalanche report can be found at

 Sheriff Gootkin stated the skiers did several things right like letting someone know where they were going and what time they expected to be back. Also they went with a partner which is often the single most important survival skill. Map courtesy Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office########

 Hyalite Search


At 5:25 p.m. Thursday a Churchill resident reported an older male in silver or gray sedan had said hello to children in the Churchill area and also had tossed pennies on the ground near them.  Deputies checked the area and will continue with extra patrols.  At the presnt time no crime has been committed and no person has been identified.  The Sheriff’s Office has not made any special security requests of the schools or community. 

As always everyone should be alert to their surroundings and report suspicious activity to local law enforcement.  Anyone with information specific to this incident should contact the Sheriff’s Office at 582-2100.