CIT Academy in Bozeman Training Responders to Help Individuals in Crisis

Thirty-eight people from organizations across southwest Montana are taking part this week in Crisis Intervention Team Academy in Bozeman.

The purpose of the CIT Academy is to assist emergency responders, detention staff, dispatchers, and anyone who encounters people in crisis to engage, assess and assist those individuals experiencing crisis with mental and/or co-occurring substance disorders.

CIT is a 40-hour evidence based training that encompasses tools and skills participants need to better manage individuals presenting with mental health and/or co-occurring substance disorders. This training exposes the participants to materials and experiences from trained mental health and medical professionals to better prepare them to effectively and safely work with this unique population.

CIT Academy instruction includes:

      • Suicide assessment and intervention
      • Substance abuse and dual diagnosis
      • Introduction to mental illness
      • Psychotropic medications
      • Legal issues
      • Elderly and children’s issues
      • Developmental disabilities
      • Intervention strategies
      • Scenario training
      • Site visit to the Montana State Hospital in Warm Springs

One of the largest benefits of the training is building a strong network of emergency responders, mental health providers and others to better help people in crisis get connected to the resources they need within the community.

Taking part in this week’s academy are staff from the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, Park County Sheriff’s Office, Bozeman Police Department, Montana State University Police Department, Manhattan Police Department, Bozeman Probation and Parole, Community Health Partners and others.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin told participants Monday that he mandates this training for his deputies and detention officers.

“We are in the business of people,” Gootkin said. “We see people when they are rock bottom, when they are worst of the worst. (CIT) may help you save someone’s life.”

Bozeman Police Chief Steve Crawford said this training is a valuable tool in the toolbox of law enforcement, and emphasized the relationship building opportunities the training provides.

“We get to learn from each other,” Crawford said.

The academy began Monday and is taking place all week at Montana State University and facilitated by more than 10 CIT coordinators.

MEDIA: to arrange a time to attend the academy, contact Whitney Bermes, Gallatin County Communications Coordinator, at 406-595-8963. 

Academy location: Corporate Room on second floor of Bobcat Stadium, 1 Bobcat Circle in Bozeman.



Gallatin County Now Offering Paid Parental Leave to Employees

In an effort to recruit, retain and support dedicated and talented public servants, Gallatin County is now offering paid parental leave as a benefit to its employees.

Gallatin County Commissioners voted 3-0 on Tuesday, Feb. 4 to adopt a new paid parental leave policy, which goes into effect for any birth or adoption occurring on or after Jan. 1, 2020.

This new policy provides for six weeks of paid parental leave for employees who have themselves or with their spouse or domestic partner, experienced the birth or adoption of a child.

The leave is available to full- and part-time employees who have worked for Gallatin County for at least six months. Gallatin County currently has 515 full- and part-time employees.

“This policy reinforces our commitment to the well-being of County employees and their families,” said Gallatin County Commissioner Scott MacFarlane. “It is a modern economic reality that very few families can afford to have a stay-at-home parent, nor can they endure interruption to their income for an extended length of time. This policy benefits the health and development of children, boosts the productivity and morale of employees, saves the employer significant costs in turn-over, and contributes to closing the gender wage gap. It is clear that neither the employer nor the employee benefits when new parents are faced with the distressing choice between caring for their child and maintaining their paycheck.”

MacFarlane added that “we see this as an opportunity to set a new employment standard in our community, which will motivate further employers to adopt similar policies for their employees.”

The policy was crafted and recommended to Commissioners by the county’s Recruit and Retain Committee, a group of employees working on ways Gallatin County can improve both recruitment of new employees and retention of excellent employees.

The group has focused on improving Gallatin County’s personnel policies to make them more employee and family friendly. The committee has already made recommendations, which were adopted by the Commission, and plans on bringing additional recommendations for policy changes to the Commission for consideration in the near future.

Torie Haraldson, Water Quality Tech Specialist for the Gallatin Local Water Quality District, works on the Recruit and Retain Committee that crafted this new policy. She said the group’s goal was to craft a flexible policy that provides new moms and dads at Gallatin County with additional time for family bonding that can be used on a schedule that strikes a better work-life balance.

“One of the best ways to be an employer of choice is through policies that let employees know they are respected and appreciated as workers AND people,” Haraldson said. “New parents are more likely to be newer employees, often lower on the pay scale, and without a significant amount of sick leave on the books. I know from experience that it’s really hard to come back to work 12 weeks after giving birth with no sick or vacation leave left and a new baby in childcare, and feel like you’re doing your best as a parent or an employee.”

Gallatin County is one of the first major employers in the area to offer paid parental leave to employees. However, Gallatin County is not the first county in Montana to enact such a policy. Missoula County adopted a similar policy in 2016.

See Gallatin County’s full policy here.

Media contact:
Whitney Bermes, Gallatin County Communications Coordinator

Gallatin County DUI Task Force Names New Coordinator

The Gallatin County DUI Task Force has named a new coordinator.

Leah Mobley takes the helm of the citizen group whose mission is to reduce incidence driving under the influence in Gallatin County.

Leah studied political science and public policy at Central Washington University and recently moved to Bozeman.

Originally from a small town in southwest Washington, Leah was involved in community service in several areas, one of which was working on youth substance prevention. Leah said that working with youth helped show her the impact that prevention education can have through community programming.

“I have had several friends and family members devastated by the effects of drinking and driving, and am looking forward to helping reduce, educate, and prevent accidents caused by driving under the influence,” Leah said.

Leah has a number of goals she hopes to accomplish as DUI Task Force coordinator, which include:

    • Creating a campus presence at Montana State University and local high schools to help engage young adults in becoming peer advocates so they can help prevent DUIs among young people.
    • Releasing a data report on the last five years of DUI statistics from Gallatin County to help educate the public and policy makers on how to move forward with prevention measures.
    • Advocating for bipartisan policy measures on the local and state level that will ensure a reduction of drug and alcohol related crashes in Montana.

“I am very excited for this opportunity and look forward to serving Gallatin County in this capacity,” Leah said.

The Gallatin County DUI Task Force is funded through driver’s license reinstatement fees collected in Gallatin County from people charged with DUI and other traffic offenses.

The mission of the Gallatin County DUI Task Force is to reduce the incidence of driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs. The vision for the Gallatin County DUI Task Force is to be the “Face of DUI prevention” by providing education, funding, networking opportunities, enforcement, and public advocacy in Gallatin County.

Members include representatives from law enforcement, treatment and prevention specialists, prosecuting attorneys, and private citizens.

The group engages in a wide variety of public education efforts, collaborates with local criminal justice professionals for effective DUI enforcement and adjudication, award funds to agencies to pay for overtime for DUI patrols, among other activities.

The Task Force coordinator is a part-time position that works under the supervision of Gallatin County Court Services.

For more information on the Task Force, click here.

Media contact:
Leah Mobley, Gallatin County DUI Task Force Coordinator

Gallatin County Justice Court’s Open Court Closing For Two Days

Gallatin County Justice Court’s open court hearings will be CLOSED for two days in the coming weeks as the court’s software system is upgraded.

Justice Court judges hold open court at the Law and Justice Center (615 S. 16th Ave. in Bozeman) on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings for people who were issued misdemeanor citations by the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, Montana Highway Patrol, Montana Motor Carriers, and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, among others.

However, due to the transition to our new system, open court will be CLOSED on both Friday, Jan. 31 and Monday, Feb. 3.

In addition, Justice Court will be completely offline on Jan. 30 and 31 and will be entering all information by hand.

We ask that you please have patience with our staff during this transition! And please plan accordingly and attend one of our other open court dates.

If you have any questions, please contact Gallatin County Justice Court at 406-582-2191.

Gallatin County Justice of the Peace Rick West
Gallatin County Justice of the Peace Bryan Adams


Gallatin County Planning Department Holding Photo Contest

Calling all residents! Gallatin County is looking for your photos!

Gallatin County is currently in the process of updating its Growth Policy. As part of the update, we are giving the document a fresh new look with photos of the county submitted by you, the residents. We are looking for photos that fit into these themes:

Open Space – A major component of these photos should be a feature of our landscape, like a mountain peak, a river, farm/ranchland, wildlife, or a sunset.

Heritage – Photos in this category should include people, places, or objects that reflect our heritage.  For example, photos might include an old building, a well-worn pair of boots, a tractor at work, a branding, or people gathering for a community event.

Opportunity – Photos in this category should include subject matter that reflects opportunities for our community – think about things you want to see more of in the future in the County. For example, photos might include music, school, or social events, parks, trails, buildings, or neighborhoods.

Here’s how to submit your photos: Visit the website, then:

      1. Click on the link “Upload your photos.”
      2. At this point, you will need to register. This is an easy and necessary step. We want to be able to contact you if one of your photos is chosen. So please register with a valid email address.
      3. When submitting a photo, please enter your category: Open Space, Heritage, or Opportunity.
      4. Feel free to say anything else about the photo where it says “Enter a short description.”

There is no limit on the number of photos you submit, so have fun and show us Gallatin County from your eyes!

Media contact:
Garrett McAllister
Associate Planner
Gallatin County Department of Planning & Community Development


Candidate Filing for 2020 Primary Election Begins

Candidate filing for the 2020 primary election begins today, Jan. 9!

Candidates for Gallatin County Commissioner (District 1), Clerk of District Court/Public Administrator, Conservation District Supervisor (Areas 4 & 5), and Political Party Central Committeeman and Committeewoman can file with the Gallatin County Election Department until March 9.

Federal, statewide, and state district candidates must file with the Montana Secretary of State’s Office. Please visit the Secretary of State’s website at this link for more information

Candidate resources for ALL upcoming elections can be found on the Gallatin County Election Department website at this link.

Media contact:
Eric Semerad, Gallatin County Clerk & Recorder


Gallatin County Treatment Court honoring participants at annual Christmas celebration

Gallatin County Treatment Court will be holding its annual Christmas celebration on Friday, Dec. 20.

The celebration is to honor the participants’ commitment to changing their lives.

Treatment Court starts at 9 a.m. in Gallatin County District Court Judge John Brown’s courtroom at the Law and Justice Center, located at 615 S. 16th Ave. in Bozeman.

“Treatment Court Christmas is a very special event. It is an opportunity to celebrate the ongoing success of our participants, some of whom have not celebrated Christmas in years,” said Judge Brown.

“Prior to Treatment Court, their lives revolved around drugs, alcohol, and jail. But this year, with the support of the Treatment Court team, our participants are clean and sober. They are employed, and they have stable residences. And they are free to experience the joy of the holidays with their friends and family,” he said.

At the Christmas celebration, the 18 current participants will receive gifts and treats provided by Belgrade Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 12112,  Friends of Treatment Court (a group that gives financial support to the program), as well as other citizens of Gallatin County.

Gallatin County Treatment Court was the first adult treatment court in the state and is now one of 31 drug courts across Montana.

Started in 1999, Treatment Court is an 18-month voluntary program that is an alternative sentencing for adult offenders whose crimes were motivated by substance abuse.

Participants receive treatment for chemical dependency and mental health issues. Among a number of things, participants are required to attend addictions counseling, mental health therapy and support groups, as well as submit to frequent drug and alcohol testing, report weekly to a case manager and perform community service.

The five core values of Treatment Court are honesty, integrity, responsibility, sobriety and service.

Brown also voiced his appreciation to the Gallatin County Commission.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Gallatin County commissioners for their continued support of the Treatment Court,” he said. “Their emotional and financial support is greatly appreciated.”

The program is managed by a team that includes:

Judge John Brown, Gallatin County District Court
Steve Ette, Director of Court Services
Eric Kitzmiller, Chief Deputy with Gallatin County Attorney’s Office
Kirsten Mull-Core, Attorney
Dr. Jim Murphey, Psychologist
Vicki Deboer, Clinical Supervisor with Alcohol and Drug Services of Gallatin County
Jared Poole, Probation and Parole Officer for Montana Department of Corrections
Kelley Parker-Wathne, Treatment Court Coordinator

Media Contact:
Steve Ette, Director of Court Services

VOTE! One day left to return ballots for Gallatin County elections

Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote!

That’s what the Gallatin County Election Department is encouraging our citizens to do! There is ONE day left to return ballots for municipal general and countywide special elections this November.

As of Monday afternoon, the Election Department has received 22,683 of the 65,491 ballots it issued to voters across the county.

Voters have until 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 5 to return their ballots to any of these locations:

  • Gallatin County Election Office in Bozeman – 311 W. Main St., Room 210 in the Gallatin County Courthouse
  • Belgrade City Clerk’s Office – 91 E. Central Ave.
  • City of Bozeman Finance Office – 121 N. Rouse Ave.
  • Manhattan Town Clerk’s Office – 207 S. 6th St.
  • Three Forks City Clerk’s Office – 206 N. Main St.
  • Town of West Yellowstone Clerk Office – 440 Yellowstone Ave.

And for folks stopping by the Gallatin County Courthouse on Tuesday, you don’t even have to get out of your vehicle! We will have a curbside drop-off on Main Street in front of the Courthouse starting at 8 a.m. We will also have our lobby drop-off table, which will open at 7 a.m.

Media contact:
Eric Semerad, Gallatin County Clerk & Recorder

(File photo courtesy of Gallatin County)

Tax bills get an updated look

For the first time in over a decade, the tax bills sent out by the Gallatin County Treasurer’s Office are getting a fresh look!

The new design is meant to be more transparent and provide taxpayers with an easy-to-understand look at where their taxes go. This is the first time the format of the bills has been changed since 2008.

Tax bills are already available online. Hard copies will hit mailboxes early this week.

The Gallatin County Treasurer’s Office is encouraging folks to save time and pay their taxes online. You can use debit cards, credit cards or our new e-check option online at Note that fees do apply online.

The 2019 Real Property tax statements have the first half due on Dec. 4 and the second half due on June 1. The second half of all mobile home property taxes is also due by Dec. 2.

If you have any questions about your tax bills, please contact the Treasurer’s Office at 582-3030 or stop in at 311 W. Main St., room 103, in downtown Bozeman.

Community gives input on future of Axtell Bridge

Gallatin County, in coordination with the Montana Department of Transportation, held an open house this week to gather community input on potential Axtell Bridge replacement options.

Dozens of community members attended the meeting Tuesday night in Gallatin Gateway to ask questions and let the Gallatin County Commission hear what was important to them.

Most of the initial feedback received at the meeting reflected an understanding of the need for a new structure without the size, weight and single-lane limitations. Opportunities for roadway safety improvements, improved Fish, Wildlife and Parks fishing site access, and creative ideas on how to best handle the existing 100-year-old bridge were also discussed.

The Gallatin County Commission will continue to welcome public comment and notify MDT of their preference moving forward with the project in the November-December timeframe.

The Axtell Bridge, located on Axtell Anceny Road, is a one-lane truss bridge south of Four Corners. Gallatin County is weighing three options for replacement through the MDT off-system bridge program: replacing the bridge with a two-lane bridge and re-aligning the road near the ends of the bridge, replacing the bridge in its current location, and rehabilitating the old bridge.

You can email public comment to the Gallatin County Commission at, or mail comments to 311 W. Main St. room 306, Bozeman, MT 59715.