Sheriff's Office Evaluates West Yellowstone Police Department - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Sheriff's Office Evaluates West Yellowstone Police Department

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BOZEMAN -

The Gallatin County Sheriff is working to restore trust in the West Yellowstone Police Department.

This comes after several residents raised concerns about how the police department handles criminal investigations.

"I believe from here on out, it's going to be better," said Brian Gootkin, Gallatin County Sheriff.

Sheriff Brian Gootkin said last fall he received multiple concerns about how the West Yellowstone Police Department was handling criminal investigations.

"There were some concerns that were brought up by local law enforcement and the park service," said Gootkin. "The park service made the decision to suspend their mutual aid through the West Yellowstone Police Department because of their concerns."

Now, the sheriff's office and the police department will work together until an investigation into West Yellowstone is complete.

Gootkin is looking at the department as a whole, both how they handle criminal investigations and how their officers are trained.

"We will take a look at their field training program and see how they do things compared to how we do our field training program. Then, we will take all of that and provide that to the town council," said Gootkin. "We are also going to meet with each individual officer, find out exactly what is happening in system and maybe make some positive recommendations."

After doing the evaluation, Gootkin will then present his findings to the West Yellowstone town council.

Gootkin said the department has already made some positive improvements.

"They just developed a 911 advisory council for the West Yellowstone area," said Gootkin.

Gootkin said the entire process is all to make sure the citizens of West Yellowstone are safe.

"We are working together to try to fix those things because when it comes down to it, the most important thing is the safety of the citizens of West Yellowstone," said Gootkin.

The state's Department of Criminal Investigation is still investigating the West Yellowstone Police Chief, Gordon Berger.

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