Posted: Oct 2, 2013 8:41 PM by Judy Slate - MTN News
Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin is addressing public safety concerns in West Yellowstone.
Last month, Sheriff Gootkin met with the West Yellowstone Police Chief to talk about complaints he's heard about the department.
At about the same time, The National Park Service in Yellowstone cancelled its mutual aid agreement with West Yellowstone. Since then, the Sheriff has been working with City leaders to improve the situation.
"I believe we are heading in the right direction," Sheriff Gootkin said.
He visited with West Yellowstone City leaders on Tuesday, laying out areas he believes, need improvement.
At the top of his list is officer training. He says the police department is open to assistance.
Gootkin said, "They've also kicked it into high gear as far as sending people to training and they'll be sending officers to our firearms training and instructor training and taser training."
The Sheriff is also sending detectives down to West Yellowstone to re-investigate at least three felony cases and even though that puts a strain on his department, he says it's worth it.
"Because West Yellowstone is in Gallatin County and I have concerns, obvious concerns, to where that could affect public safety of West Yellowstone," he said.
The mutual aid suspension remains in effect meaning that if Yellowstone Prak Ranger need assistance, they have to call Sheriff Gootkin's office and not the West Yellowstone PD.
Sheriff Gootkin will be in Glendive for the rest of the week where he and other members of the Montana Sheriff's and Peace Officers Association will be touring the man camps in Eastern Montana where many people working on the Bakken Oil Fields are living.
They'll be learning about energy development and its impacts on law enforcement.