Play It Safe This Cinco de Mayo!

    Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office and Bozeman Police Department

 Working to Reduce Drunk Driving Crashes, Fatalities


BOZEMAN, MT   As party-goers celebrate Cinco de Mayo with sombreros, mariachi music and authentic cuisine, many will also indulge with their favorite margarita or tequila, and then, unfortunately, choose to get behind the wheel.  That’s why this year the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office and Bozeman Police Department  are joining with others across the state and nation to encourage everyone to plan ahead this Cinco de Mayo and to never drink and drive. 

 “With Cinco de Mayo celebrations on the rise across the country, alcohol-impaired crashes, injuries and fatalities will also rise,” said Sheriff Brian Gootkin.  “But buzzed driving is drunk driving, and is never safe or acceptable. So folks should plan ahead now to avoid the temptation on the big day.”

 From 2007 to 2011, 38 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities that occurred each year around May 5th involved impaired drivers or motorcycle operators with blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of .08 and above, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

 During the 2011 Cinco de Mayo holiday alone, 35 percent of motor vehicle fatalities involved an alcohol-impaired driver or motorcycle operator with a BAC of .08 and above. A disturbing 80 percent of the alcohol impaired fatalities involved a driver or motorcycle operator with nearly twice the legal limit of .15.

 Bozeman PD Captain McManis said that people can still enjoy the holiday and celebrations without putting their lives or the lives of other innocent victims on the line. 

 “When people start celebrating, they often aren’t thinking of how they will get home from the restaurant or a friend’s house, and they don’t realize how much they’ve had to drink and make a bad choice that ends in tragic consequences,” said Captain McManis.   “That’s why we are reminding folks to play it safe and plan ahead.”

 Statistics show 31 percent of traffic fatalities in 2011 involved an impaired driver.  But death or injury are not the only consequences from impaired driving. When caught and arrested, violators often face jail time, loss of their driver’s license and it could cost up to $10,000 in legal fees, fines, and result in higher insurance rates.

  “You should always designate a sober driver before the party begins,” said Sheriff Gootkin. “But, if you don’t plan ahead, and you’ve been drinking, please do not get behind the wheel.   There are plenty of other alternatives that will keep you and others safe and out of trouble.” 

 Party-goers can call a friend or cab, use public transportation.  The Late Night Streamline Bus schedule can be found at  

 Sheriff Gootkin and Captain McManis said officers will be on the look-out for impaired drivers during Cinco de Mayo, and those who are caught drinking and driving will be arrested.   

 “We want to make sure that everyone lives to see, and enjoy, Seis de Mayo,” said Gootkin and McManis.  “So we’re working hard to remind everyone that Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving and to never get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol.” 





 CONTACT:   Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin (406) 582-2125


                  Bozeman Police Dept. Patrol Captain Dave McManis (406)-582-2000


False Search and Rescue Donation Calls

The Sheriff’s Office has received several calls recently about phone solicitation purporting to be for Search and Rescue.  Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue does not solicit money by phone or any other method.  It is funded by tax revenue and donations made by persons directly to the Sheriff’s Office for Search and Rescue.  Any phone call or other solicitation for Gallatin County Search and Rescue should be considered disengenious.   ####

Skier injured at Bridger Bowl

On April 18, 2013, Gallatin County Dispatch was notified by Park County 911 that they received a call from an injured skier located at Bridger Bowl. The skier a 21 year old member of the MSU ski team crashed while skiing the Colter Shute at Bridger Bowl. The skier was injured after hitting a rock outcropping and was unable to move due to a possible broken leg.  Since Bridger Bowl is closed, for the season Sheriff’s Search and Rescue was called upon. Several Search and Rescue members were on the mountain at the time of the call and were able to quickly reach the skier who was taken off the mountain with the assistance of Bridger Bowl Employees. The full extent of injuries are unknown at this time, the patient was transported to BDH for further treatment.

Sheriff Gootkin stated that often calls to 911 on the east side of the Bridgers are routed to Livingston 911 becasue of the location of the cell towers that area available.  For that reason it is important that you are able to give the dispatcher your location as accurately as possible.  #####

Four Corners Burglary


At approximately 11:00 A.M. this morning The Gallatin County 911 Dispatch Center received a report of a Burglary in progress at 2591 Magenta Road in the Four Corners area. 

Gallatin County Sheriff’s Deputies and the Montana Highway Patrol responded to the area.  Responding Emergency Personnel apprehended one juvenile male, who is in custody.  The investigation is ongoing.  Please contact Sheriff Gootkin with any further questions.

Brian M. Gootkin

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

Spring Fire Season? – Fire Danger is High!

After two wildland fires in the Fort Ellis Fire Service Area in the past week, fire officials are urging residents to be more aware of the potential for fires to start and spread rapidly. According to Mike Cech, Chief of the Fort Ellis Fire Department, it is common to have wildland fires in the early spring.

“People normally think about the danger of wildland fires later in the summer, after things dry out. The spring can be just as bad because of the dead vegetation left after the winter. This spring seems to be especially bad because of the general lack of moisture”, Chief Cech said.

Although open burning has been allowed since the beginning of March, residents can really help their local volunteer departments by being extra cautious or by waiting until after vegetation greens-up when planning controlled burns. Residents are also reminded that burn permits are required for outside open burning.

Gallatin County Burn Permits can be obtained at


Crime Spree

On April 1, 2013, the Belgrade Police Department and the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office began to receive reports of vehicles and businesses in the River Rock, Frontage Road West and Belgrade areas being vandalized with a pellet gun.  Both LE agencies mobilized additional patrols.  On April 3, 2013, the Belgrade Police and Gallatin County Sheriff worked collectively and three males were taken into custody for Felony Criminal Mischief.  Jonathan R. Lopez, Alexander Cantu, and Jacob Toledo are currently being held on $5000 bond each at the Gallatin County Detention Center.  To date there are well over 100 victims and damage estimates are in the tens of thousands.  If anyone needs to report damage please contact their respective law enforcement agency contact below.


Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office / Detective Dane Vranish   582-2121

Belgrade Police Department / Detective Division                  388-4262



Brian M. Gootkin

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

Law Enforcement Seeking Information on Crime Spree

(Belgrade, Mt.) Belgrade Police and the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office are seeking information on the following incident;

On the evening hours of Monday April 1, 2013 and the early morning hours of April 2,  over one hundred and ten vehicles in the River Rock, Frontage Road West and Belgrade areas were shot with a Beebe or pellet gun.  Gallatin County Deputies so far have taken over fifty calls reporting damage and the Belgrade Police Department have taken over sixty complaints.  It is estimated that the value of the damage caused to these vehicles may reach as high as $20,000.  The photos of the suspect vehicle are included with this release.  It appears the vehicle may be a Reddish/Maroon Subaru hatchback or similar vehicle.  All of the lights on the rear of the vehicle appear to be working including the license plate light and a brake light in the upper rear window.        

Anyone with information should call the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Dispatch at 582-2100 option #2 or the Belgrade Police Department at 388-4262 or can remain annonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 586-1131.  Callers may be eligable for a cash reward. 



Fatality Story Mill Road


On March 29th at 8:05 PM the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office responded to a fatality accident on Story Mill Road. The deceased was identified as 17 year-old Alec Fesler of Missoula. The accident investigation is being conducted by the Bozeman Police Department.

Controlled Burners Urged to Utilize Caution

GCEM Media Release

Contact:  Patrick Lonergan, 406-582-2395

People in the Gallatin Valley conducting controlled burns are encouraged to do so in a safe manner as fires can easily get out of control this time of year.  After the snow melts the grasses are often quite dry and fires can grow out of control very quickly.  When fire is provided continous fuel (grass) and wind, they are very capable of rapid growth that can outpace the burners ability to control leading to extensive property damage.  Historically this area will see fires around this time of year followed by a slow down as the grass greens up, then fire potential will increase as the grass drys back out throughout the summer months.

Individuals conducting a controlled burn with a Gallatin County Burn Permit are encouraged to follow these tips:

  • Don’t set more on fire than you can control.
  • Always be onsite while burning and until the fire is completely out.
  • Always have a method to extinguish the fire (hose, water truck, disk, etc…).
  • Always create a buffer around your fire that is clear of vegetation.
  • Think twice about burning if it is windy out (can it wait until conditions are in your favor).
  • Have a method to call 911 if the fire gets out of control, and call as soon as it gets out of control.

Gallatin County Burn Permits can be obtained at