ATV Rider Rescued in Jackson Cr


​(Gallatin Co Mont.). On Thursday, May 29, 2014 Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, and was dispatched to the Jackson Creek Trailhead to rescue an ATV enthusiast who broke his ankle when his three-wheeler rolled over. The injured party was riding alone when he hit a snow patch and lost control, resulting in a fractured ankle and superficial injuries to his chest and face. The man and his vehicle came to rest out of sight of the trail. A passing bicyclist heard him calling for help and alerted the Sheriff’s Office. #####

Join in the 2014 Great Montana ShakeOut

GCEM Media Release

Contact:  Patrick Lonergan, 582-2395
Release:  140527-01

Join in the 2014 Great Montana ShakeOut

Bozeman, MT – Everyone is invited to join their neighbors and friends during the 2014 Great Montana ShakeOut this October.  On October 22, 2014 people across Montana will be practicing Drop, Cover, and Hold at the same time in recognition of living in earthquake country.  While we often do not feel them, earthquakes regularly occur in Gallatin County and it is vital that everyone know how to react when a large earthquake does occur.

The Great Montana ShakeOut provides a common opportunity for all Montanans to take note of living in earthquake country, review their emergency plan, then Drop, Cover, and Hold.  The ShakeOut provides program materials for a variety of organizations from businesses and schools to private homeowners who want to participate in the drill.  To learn more and register, please visit

Many don’t realize that Montana is the 4th most seismically active state in the US.  While many of the daily earthquakes occurring in Montana are not felt, occasionally they are big enough to be felt or cause damage.  In fact, the largest Montana earthquake (14th largest in continental US) occurred at Hebgen Lake in 1959.  While we never know when a large earthquake may occur, the best defense is preparing your family plan on what you need to be self sufficient and how your family will respond during a disaster.

To learn more about earthquake preparedness, or the Great Montana ShakeOut, visit



Emergency Siren Test in Big Sky on Wednesday May 21

Big Sky Fire
The Big Sky Resort will be testing its emergency siren located at the western edge of the Big Sky Golf Course on Wednesday May 21 between 10:00 and 10:30 AM.  The test will be very brief.

The siren’s purpose is to warn individuals of sudden and potentially dangerous high stream flows originating from Lake Levinsky.

While this is only a test of the warning system, should you hear this siren at any other time, those downstream from Lake Levinsky should heed the warning and immediately evacuate the area.

To receive emergency notifications for this and other types of community emergencies, please register your cell phone on the Ready Gallatin Emergency Preparedness Network System (EPNS) website ( so that you are called and can receive important instructions. 

If you have any questions, you can contact me via email at or by phone at the Big Sky Fire Department, 406-995-2100. 
William Farhat
Fire Chief

Residents Encouraged to Closely Monitor Spring Runoff

GCEM Media Release

Contact:  Patrick Lonergan, 582-2395
Release:  140519-01

Residents Encouraged to Closely Monitor Spring Runoff

Bozeman, MT  – Residents in Gallatin County are encouraged to closely monitor water levels around them with spring runoff picking up.  We have seen the water levels rise the past couple days and the forecast weather this week will likely contribute to more water coming out of the mountains.  This coming week has daytime valley temperatures in the high 60’s and mid 70’s with nighttime lows above freezing.  These warm non-freezing temperatures allow the snow to melt continuously around the clock, resulting in considerably more runoff than when nighttime freezing of the snow occurs.

Those around areas prone to flooding should be closely watching the water levels, especially if we start seeing significant and sustained rain.  Rain combined with melting snow compounds the amount of runoff and will often result in surges of the river levels.  If we see considerable rain, residents should expect to see water levels rise quickly (may take several hours before the rise occurs).

Information on flood preparedness and current river levels is available at:  It is important to keep in mind that now is the time to prepare your property for flooding.  Once flooding occurs, it is often too late to protect your property.

BZN_Weather_519IMG_5100 IMG_5103 IMG_5107


Sheriff’s SAR Teams Busy on Both Ends of the County and in the Middle


(Gallatin County, Mont) It started Tuesday about 12:30 when a 23 year old Bozeman woman injured her leg while skiing at Bridger Bowl. The Ski area is closed for the season but is still used by many local skiers who are ambitious enough to hike the mountain to get a few more turns in for the season. She had just started down and on the first turn caught a ski in the heavy snow flipping her over the front and injuring her leg. Members of Sheriff’s Search and Rescue who are also employees of Bridger Bowl were on site doing maintenance and were notified of the injury. They extricated her from the top by skis and rescue toboggan. They were assisted at the base by SAR members responding from the valley, Bridger Canyon FD and AMR ambulance. 

At about the same time a report of a kayak upside down pinned against a rock in the Gallatin River near mile post 63 was received. Some SAR units were diverted from the Bridger call to go that way. Sheriff’s Deputies and Highway Patrol units were able to locate people on the shore who claimed the kayak was theirs and determine that no one was still in the water.  

On the south end of the county at approximately 3:54 pm Sheriff’s Search and Rescue in West Yellowstone responded to the report of an overdue hiker in the Beaver Creek drainage which is approximately 21 miles northwest of West Yellowstone. Yellowstone National Park Rangers, and a helicopter from Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center stationed at the West Yellowstone Airport were enlisted to assist.  Information provided to the investigating Deputy led search teams to a last known location logged by the missing hiker with a GPS the previous afternoon. While search teams moved through the area by snowmobile, the Air Idaho Rescue Helicopter was able to locate and transport the hiker to West Yellowstone Airport where he was checked out by EMS personnel. The hiker was dehydrated, and tired but otherwise uninjured after spending the night exposed to the elements.

Sheriff Gootkin would like to remind backcountry users to take the proper safety equipment including first aid kits, proper clothing and survival gear with them when enjoying Montana’s great outdoors. 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.  #####

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)







Special Olympics Torch Run

Montana Law Enforcement Torch Run®

Press Release

For Immediate Release                                                                                                  Contact:  Deputy Jeremy Kopp 582-2100

Law Enforcement Carry the Torch for Special Olympics Montana

Montana Law Enforcement Officers and their friends have hit the streets, highways and byways of Montana.  In addition to fulfilling their duties of enforcing speed limits, maintaining order and keeping our state safe, they are fulfilling another type of duty. They are carrying the torch for Special Olympics Montana.

Hundreds will carry the Flame of Hope 2,000 miles to the State Summer Games Opening Ceremonies in Billings.  The arrival of the Torch Run on Tuesday May 13th, 2014 and the Final Leg and lighting of the cauldron on Wednesday May 14th, 2014 will officially begin the games.

Lt. Jack Allen (Great Falls Police Department) the statewide Law Enforcement Torch Run Director stated, “The athlete’s work is inspiring for us and we see it as an honor to help raise awareness and support for Special Olympics Montana.”

The Torch Run has made stops in numerous towns throughout the state including Scobey, Medicine Lake, Kalispell, Billings, Glasgow, Malta, Butte, Boulder, Anaconda, Cut Bank, Havre and Lewistown.  The torch will be arriving in Bozeman on Saturday May 10th, 2014.

Several law enforcement agencies are participating in the run into Bozeman including the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, Gallatin County Detention Center, Bozeman PD, Belgrade PD, Three Forks PD, Montana Highway Patrol.

“Once our officers get involved they are hooked,” said Allen. “It’s a mutually satisfying experience where we create special relationships that are genuine and long-term.”

The Torch Run in Montana began in 1985. Each year, local Montana Law Enforcement Officers raise several thousand dollars for Special Olympics Montana athletes.  In 2008, the Montana LETR raised over $350,000 for local athletes and was awarded 4th highest per capita in the world.

Please join us and cheer on our runners and bicyclists this year as we welcome the Torch Run to Gallatin County on Saturday May 10th, 2014.

Timeline for the torch’s travel through Gallatin County:

8:00 am – 8:30 am – Run through Three Forks (Starts at David Delaittre’s memorial through Main street to the Interstate)

8:40 am – 9:30 am – Bike from Three Forks to Manhattan (on the Interstate)

9:40 am – 9:50 am – Run through Manhattan (Starts at Thriftway loops through town)

10:00 am – 10:40 am – Bike from Manhattan to Belgrade (on the Interstate)

10:50 am – 11:10 am – Run through Belgrade (Starts at Lee and Dad’s and loops through town)

11:20 am – 12:40 pm – Run from Belgrade to Bozeman

12:50 pm – 1:30 pm – Run through Bozeman (N. 19th Ave City Brew, south on 19th, east on Main to Lindley Park)

1:40 pm – 3:00 pm – Bike from Bozeman to the top of the Bozeman Pass (via the Interstate)

**All times are approximate**

Hike turns into an all Night Adventure

On May 4, 2014, just after midnight, the Gallatin County 911 Center received a call from a woman who reported that her friend, a 21 year old Bozeman man, was several hours overdue from an all day hiking trip in the Bridger Mountains. A deputy made contact with the woman and learned that the man had intended to hike from Fairy Lake to the M Trailhead. He had begun early in the morning on May 3, and had spoken with the reporting party in the early afternoon on a cell phone from near Sacajawea Peak. He had been in good spirits, but had made very little progress along his intended route. No further contact had been made, and the cell phone was apparently turned off, or the battery had died. The man was said to be an avid outdoor recreationalist and in good physical condition, but it also became apparent that he was totally unprepared for undertaking this kind of trip during spring snow conditions in the mountains. A deputy located the man’s unoccupied vehicle still parked on Fairy Lake Road.

Sheriff’s Search and Rescue was activated, with some members deploying to check area trailheads for any sign that the man had hiked down, and others evaluating additional options for the safest and most effective way to locate and reach the missing man. Summit Air Ambulance was contacted, and their helicopter launched from Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport. Using their night vision capability, the Summit Air crew very quickly spotted the man’s headlamp along the Bridger Ridge, in the area of Sacajawea and Naya Nuki Peaks. After carefully selecting a landing zone, Summit Air was able to touch down on the ridge and pick up the man at 3:28 AM. He was transported to the Gallatin County Fairgrounds, where his friends were waiting. Aside from superficial cuts and scrapes, the man was uninjured, and he did not required medical treatment.

Sheriff Gootkin reminds those venturing into the mountains during this time of year that there is simply no substitute for proper experience and equipment. Deep snow, avalanche danger, and rapidly changing weather conditions are only a few of the hazards which are likely to be encountered. Additionally, precautions such as traveling with a partner, being prepared to stay overnight, notifying someone of your specific plans, and having a reliable means of communication, can prevent an adventure from becoming a nightmare.