2/26/2021 COVID-19 Deaths in Gallatin County

For Immediate Release: February 26, 2021

The Gallatin City-County Health Department is saddened to announce that two more Gallatin County residents have passed away from complications due to COVID-19.

See the full press release here.

The Gallatin City-County Health Department Call Center is open Monday-Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to answer questions about COVID-19. Reach the Call Center by phone at 406-548-0123 or email at callcenter@readygallatin.com.

The most accurate local source of information remains the GCCHD website.

Public Comment Sought on Gallatin County Growth Policy


For immediate release: February 23, 2021

Gallatin County is excited to announce the final outreach phase of Envision GallatinThe Growth Policy Public Working Draft! 

Please take a moment to visit www.envisiongallatin.com to review and comment on the draft Growth Policy.

Envision Gallatin is the update to the Gallatin County Growth Policywhich is the county’s overarching land use policy document. As the fastest growing county in Montana, the area has experienced significant change since the last Growth Policy update in 2003.

The Growth Policy update kicked off in the spring of 2019 with public outreach events that ran through the summer and fall. The COVID-19 pandemic slowed progress a bit last spring, but we regained momentum in the second half of 2020.

The public working draft is based around three themes we heard consistently during public outreach: heritage, open space, and opportunity. Those three theme together set the foundation for the county’s land use vision.

In addition, the document has been updated to reflect current conditions, to articulate meaningful goals and guidance on future growth and development, and to provide a practical path for implementation.

We are most interested in hearing your feedback and ideas on the goals and policies (Chapter 6) and implementation strategies (Chapter 8). Those two chapters together are the heart of the document.

The comment period will be open until April 2, 2021. As always, your input is highly valued!

Media contact:
Sean O’Callaghan, Gallatin County Planning Director

Dan Springer Appointed Gallatin County Sheriff

For immediate release: February 23, 2021

In a unanimous vote on Tuesday morning, the Gallatin County Commission appointed Dan Springer as the next sheriff of Gallatin County. 

“I’ve worked with Dan for a lot of years,” said Commissioner Joe Skinner. “I think he has a tremendous amount of potential to lead this office. I have always been really supportive of him doing this and I have no hesitancy of him coming into this office.”

Commissioner Zach Brown commended Sheriff Springer’s service to the community, through both his years in the sheriff’s office as well as outside as a youth sports coach and a volunteer.

“This is a great opportunity to build a working relationship, to tackle tough topics and conversations together,” Brown said. “I really look forward to working with you.”

Chairman Scott MacFarlane said the process to fill the vacant sheriff position was easy and straightforward due to the unanimous support from sheriff’s office staff and the community.

“It speaks to how healthy our law enforcement culture is here,” MacFarlane said. “This (appointment) is just a continuation of that positive culture we have.”

Sheriff Springer has been with the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office since 1996. During that time he has served as a patrol deputy, K9 officer, school resource officer, sergeant of the patrol and detective divisions, member and commander of the Special Response Team, commander of the Detention Center and the Missouri River Drug Task Force, chief deputy coroner, undersheriff, and, most recently, interim sheriff.

“I thank the commission for trusting me this with responsibility,” Sheriff Springer said. “This office means a lot to me. It makes me proud to even be considered for this position. I make a promise to this community that we will continue to provide the exceptional service they expect of us.”

Sheriff Springer told commissioners during a public interview last week that the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office is highly regarded around the state, but maintains a responsibility to the citizens to continue improving. He looks forward to continuing to improve many of the current initiatives and projects of the sheriff’s office – such as the Community Crisis Co-Responder program, school resource deputy program, Crisis Intervention Team Montana program, the Public Safety Academy, and others. 

Moving forward, Sheriff Springer said he would also like to work on implementing new initiatives and changes, such as creating new internal training for deputies, creating a domestic violence investigative unit, creating a Regional Training Center at the sheriff’s new building on Jackrabbit Lane, and others.

A priority will also be the health and wellness of Sheriff Springer’s approximately 140 employees, he said. That includes providing better tools and knowledge to do their jobs, continue and improve on training available, helping them get opportunities to gain empathy, compassion and knowledge, and keep hiring remarkable individuals. 

Sheriff Springer was appointed to replace former Sheriff Brian Gootkin, who left the office at the end of 2020. 

As per state law, when there is a vacancy in an elected county office, the Board of County Commissioners appoints a replacement to finish out the term. Sheriff Springer will serve the remainder of Gootkin’s term, which expires on Dec. 31, 2022.

The next election for Gallatin County Sheriff will be November of 2022. 




2.21.21 Lionshead Snowmobile Rescue

On Sunday, February 21, 2021, at 4:31 pm, the West Yellowstone Police Department Dispatch Center received a request for assistance from three snowmobilers on Lion’s Head old ski hill, 11 miles west of West Yellowstone. One of the snowmobilers was experiencing extreme back pain and was unable to ride their snowmobile back to town.

Volunteers from Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue in West Yellowstone and Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks responded to help the snowmobiler. Once on scene the volunteers loaded the snowmobiler onto a specialized toboggan sled and transported them to a Hebgen Basin Rural Fire Department ambulance. The snowmobiler was subsequently transported to the Big Sky Medical Center for evaluation.

Gallatin County DUI Task Force Providing Breathalyzer Education Program

For immediate release: February 19, 2021

Think Twice was created with guidance and support from insurance providers to help patrons who are NOT visibly impaired get home safe. This breathalyzer education program is funded by the Gallatin DUI Task Force, making it free for all participants in the county.

DUI Prevention Strategy

The concept is simple: Breathalyzers are used by law enforcement to arrest people after they drive away from a bar or restaurant, so it makes sense to offer patrons an easy way to understand when they should not drive.

To accomplish this goal, we promote a single-use breathalyzer that informs the user if they are within a range between 0.00% – 0.08% breath-alcohol-content (BAC). It’s important to note the device does NOT provide a specific BAC result. This feature allows patrons who are not apparently intoxicated to know when they should not drive without causing a legal issue for the business.

We suggest each breathalyzer be retailed for $2 and that is the most common interaction service teams will have with Think Twice.

The breathalyzers are made available for sale with signage approved by management like posters in restrooms, table tents, checkbook inserts, and bar coasters. All posters are placed in frames with the objective to be a long-term Drink Responsibly campaign.

Gallatin County Sponsors

MAP Brewing, Bozeman Brewing Co., Mountains Walking Brewing, Union Hall Brewing, Bozeman Spirits, Old Chicago, Hideaway Lounge, The Haufbrau, and Filling Station… More to come!

Missoula County Sponsors

Iron Horse Bar & Grill, Montgomery Distillery, Press Box, The Rhinoceros, Red’s Bar, Stockman’s, Silver Dollar Bar, Cranky Sam’s Public House, and Bodega/Monks… More to come!

Think Twice is also sponsored by the Montana Tavern Association and Revo Insurance Alliance to offer the best hospitality policies at their lowest rates, just for adding this free program.

Media contact:
Leah Mobley, Gallatin County DUI Task Force Coordinator
Cell: 360-980-2271
Work: 406-585-1492


Shooting Incident in Gallatin County

For immediate release: February 18, 2021

On February 17, 2021 at approximately 2345 hours, officers with the Belgrade Police Department were dispatched to a residence in Belgrade for a report of a partner or family member assault. The suspect in the assault left the residence before officers arrived.

A Gallatin County Sheriff’s deputy located the vehicle parked at a gas station in Belgrade. The deputy activated his emergency lights and siren in an attempt to stop and detain the suspect for the investigation. The driver then drove out of the parking lot and struck another vehicle. The deputy pursued the suspect vehicle in his marked patrol vehicle with activated emergency lights and sirens. The driver led the deputy and others on a pursuit towards Manhattan on the Frontage Road.

Attempts to spike the vehicle’s tires in Manhattan were unsuccessful. The suspect continued through Manhattan and turned westbound onto Interstate-90. A detective with the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office set spike strips at the Logan Interchange in another attempt to bring the pursuit to an end. The driver of the suspect vehicle fired multiple rounds at the detective on the side of the road, striking the unmarked sheriff’s office vehicle that had its emergency lights activated. The pursuit with the suspect vehicle was called off shortly after the suspect engaged the deputy with a firearm due to poor road conditions and very limited visibility.

The suspect vehicle was later located in Silver Bow County and another pursuit ensued. The suspect vehicle’s tires were later deflated by law enforcement and the vehicle came to a stop near mile marker 173 on I-90. After approximately a four-hour standoff, the suspect was safely taken into custody.

No law enforcement officers were injured during this incident. The following law enforcement agencies were involved in this protracted event: Belgrade Police Department, Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, Montana Highway Patrol, Manhattan Police Department, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Butte-Silver Bow Law Enforcement, Anaconda-Deer Lodge County Law Enforcement Department, Granite County Sheriff’s Office, Powell County Sheriff’s Office, and SWAT teams from Butte and Missoula.

Interim Sheriff Dan Springer would like to thank all of the agencies involved for their assistance in safely resolving this incident.