The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office has received multiple calls from citizens who state they were contacted by the IRS and told to call 701-428-8115 or a warrant was going to be placed on them. This is a scam and you should not do anything they are asking you to do.  

The Sheriff’s Office has also been made aware of another scam. In this scam, people who are looking for rental homes are contacted and asked to provide personal information. The rentals are actually homes for sale in the local area, but they are not for rent. This is also a scam.

Please do not provide your personal information to any individual or organization unless you have fully researched their legitimacy.


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Gallatin River Ranch Rescue

On Sunday, October 15th, 2017, around 6:00 pm, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Division, the Gallatin River Ranch Fire Department, and an American Medical Response (AMR) ambulance responded to a backcountry rescue.  A 76-year-old Texas man most likely fell on a steep slope above the Gallatin River north of Manhattan.  The man ended up below some cliffs on a difficult to access stretch of the river.  The man had a head wound and was disoriented.  Various personal effects were scattered around the area.

A ground crew of rescuers accessed the man by hiking down steep, rough terrain.  Another crew launched a search and rescue boat from a nearby fishing access.  Due to the nature of the man’s injuries and an anticipated length of time to reach definitive medical treatment, responding EMS personnel requested a medical helicopter transport the man to the hospital.  Rescuers had to stomp down chest high grass next to the river to create a suitable landing zone for the helicopter.  A Reach Medical Helicopter was eventually able to land and fly the patient to Bozeman Health Hospital.

Sheriff Gootkin would like to remind people to enjoy outdoor activities with at least one partner.  If you have to go alone, tell someone where you are going and when to expect you back.  You can run into trouble close to home the same as you can in the remote backcountry.

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California Wildfires Illustrate Challenges in Mass Notifications

GCEM Media Release

Release: 171014-01
Contact:  Patrick Lonergan, (406) 599-7881

California Wildfires Illustrate Challenges in Mass Notifications

Bozeman, MT – Wildfires burning in Sonoma County, California have reinforced a good practice concerning emergency notifications for use here in Gallatin County.  Providing fast, accurate and clear emergency messages during emergencies is often a complicated process that officials here in Gallatin County spend a lot of time preparing for.  As reported by the Route Fifty on October 12th, Sonoma County officials debated the use of a federal system known as Wireless Emergency Alerts to notify individuals affected by the emerging wildfires. Sonoma officials ultimately decided not to use the system largely due to the inability to target only those people affected by the fires.

“Many people have the impression that officials can send emergency messages to anyone, but the reality is that we can’t do that in practice,” stated Patrick Lonergan, Gallatin County Emergency Manager.  Mr. Lonergan added, “Wireless Emergency Alerts will be a great tool in the future, but today it is significantly hindered in several key area.  For example, using the Wireless Emergency Alert System we would have to send a message to every cell phone in Gallatin County even if the emergency only affected West Yellowstone.  To compound this, the messages are limited to 90 characters and can not include website URLs.”  These limitations make the system challenging to utilize and still provide a clear message while identifying who the message applies to.

Lonergan points out that the best way to ensure those in Gallatin County to receive emergency notifications when something affects you is to register in the Community Notification System at  The Community Notification System is utilized by all public safety agencies within Gallatin County and allows these officials to target messages geographically to those who are actually affected by the incident.  According to Lonergan, “When an emergency occurs we want to provide clear information quickly to those who are actually affected.  The last thing we want to do is inadvertently worry people who are not affected or not send a clear message that people understand.  The reality is that we need our community to register at to ensure we can quickly notify the right people using the methods they prefer.”


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Montana is Earthquake Country, Take a Moment to Prepare

GCEM Media ReleaseRelease:  171011-01
Contact:  Patrick Lonergan, (406) 582-2395

Montana is Earthquake Country, Take a Moment to Prepare

Bozeman, MT – Montana has been reminded this year about being one of the more seismically active states in the country and October 19 is dedicated to reminding us about that reality.  At 10:19 am on October 19th a nationwide earthquake drill called the Great Montana Shakeout will occur.  Everyone in Gallatin County is encouraged to spend a couple minutes next Thursday with their co-workers, family and friends to practice “Drop, Cover and Hold On” and review their emergency plans.

Facilitation material is available for a wide variety of organization types to support you at

Montana Earthquake Video

Great Montana Shakeout Flyer


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Avalanche South of Big Sky Claims Two Victims

(Madison County, Mont.) Monday Search and Rescue Volunteers from Gallatin County assisted the Madison County Sheriff’s Office with an avalanche recovery on Imp Peak.  The avalanche killed 23-year-old year Inge Perkins of Bozeman, MT.

Preliminary investigation indicates that Saturday morning, Oct 7th, Ms. Perkins and 27-year-old Hayden Kennedy hiked 6 miles from the Upper Taylor Fork trailhead to the north couloir of Imp Peak. Near the bottom of the couloir around 10,000’, they triggered an avalanche while ascending on skis with skins. The avalanche was 1-2’ deep at the crown, approximately 150’ wide, and 300’ long. The slope where the avalanche released was 38-45° steep with a north-northeast aspect.  (Additional details from the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center)  Ms. Perkins was recovered by Rescuers after a probe pole search around 11:15 AM Monday.  (HAYDEN KENNEDY- Family Statement 10-10-17)

Due to the remote location of the mountain, a helicopter was used to access the search area.  According to Madison County Sheriff Roger Thompson, Imp Peak is a rugged mountain with steep slopes that has received enough snow to create an early avalanche hazard.  Every year, outdoor enthusiasts are cautioned to be careful when exploring the backcountry in Montana since dangers like these exist throughout the fall, winter, and spring.     ##### 

Follow-up questions can be directed to:

Madison County Sheriff Roger Thompson at 406-843-5301

Kennedy Family Media Contact is Penn Newhard at

Search and Rescue questions, Captain Jason Jarrett 406-580-1838

photo courtesy of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office:

Rescuers preparing for mission





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Victim of Vehicle Accident Identified

On Thursday, September 28, 2017, at approximately 6:25AM, the Gallatin County 911 Dispatch Center received a call from a citizen reporting a vehicle on its side in the ditch near 774 Reese Creek Road.  The caller stated the motor was cold and there was no one around the vehicle.

The Montana Highway Patrol responded to the scene of the accident.  Upon investigation, the driver was located away from the vehicle. The driver was deceased. The Trooper then requested a coroner to respond.

The Gallatin County Coroner’s Office identified the driver as 60-year-old Ellen Cerovski of Belgrade.  The cause and manner of death are under investigation.

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Prescribed Fire

GCEM Media Release

The smoke visible South of Bozeman is from a prescribed fire being conducted by the Custer Gallatin National Forest.  Questions on this can be directed to the Forest Service.

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Public Meetings Scheduled for Emergency Plans

GCEM Media Release

Release: 170927-01
Contact:  Patrick Lonergan, (406) 582-2395

Public Meetings Scheduled for Emergency Plans

Bozeman, MT – Gallatin County Emergency Management has scheduled a series of initial public meetings for the revision of the Hazard Mitigation and Community Wildfire Protection Plans.  Both of these documents will be updated over the next 18 months and combined into a single document that identifies the hazards faced in our communities and potential methods to help mitigate the hazards.  In the next month a series of 1 hour initial meetings will be held around the county to outline the process, explain the benefits and answer questions.  Later in 2018 a series of more in depth public meetings will be held to explain the hazards identified by the County’s consulting firm and work through prioritizing and selecting mitigation actions.  This process is intended to by a community effort and anyone with interest is encouraged to attend a public meeting.

More information is available on our Mitigation Update page.

Community Date &Time Location More Info
Belgrade Tuesday, October 17
2:00 pm
Central Valley Fire District
205 East Main, Belgrade
Bozeman Tuesday, October 24
7:00 pm
Bozeman Fire Station 3
1705 Vaquero, Bozeman
Manhattan & Amsterdam Tuesday, October 17
11:00 am
Gallatin Conservation District
120 North 5th, Manhattan
Three Forks, Willow Creek & Clarkston Tuesday, October 17
9:00 am
Three Forks Fire Station13 East Date, Three Forks
West Yellowstone Thursday, October 12
9:30 am
West Yellowstone City Hall
440 Yellowstone, West Yellowstone
Big Sky Thursday, October 12
1:30 pm
Big Sky Water and Sewer
561 Little Coyote Rd, Big Sky
Gallatin Gateway Thursday, October 12
4:00 pm
Gallatin Gateway Fire Station
320 Webb, Gallatin Gateway
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Emergency Alert System Test Wednesday

GCEM Media Release

Release:  170919-01
Contact:  Patrick Lonergan, (406) 582-2395

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will be conducting a test of the Emergency Alert System nationwide this Wednesday.  The test will be carried on television and radio stations at 12:20 pm on Wednesday, September 27th here in Montana.  The test will not be transmitted over the NOAA Weather Radio System or by the Wireless Emergency Alert system on cellular phones.

More information on the Emergency Alert System can be obtained at

Full FEMA release below:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in partnership with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) on September 27, 2017, at 2:20 PM EDT.  If rescheduling is necessary, the alternate test date is October 4, 2017 at 2:20 PM EDT.

The EAS test will be broadcast through:

  • Radio broadcast stations;
  • Television broadcast stations;
  • Cable systems;
  • Wireline video systems;
  • Direct broadcast satellite service providers; and
  • Digital audio radio service providers.

The EAS test message will read as follows:

“This is a National Test of the Emergency Alert System.  This is only a test.  Broadcast and cable operators in your area have developed this system in voluntary cooperation with FEMA, the FCC and local authorities to keep you informed in the event of an emergency.  If this had been an actual emergency an official message would have followed the alert tone. This concludes this National Test of the Emergency Alert System.”

The EAS test will address accessibility in the following ways:

  • The emergency test message will be transmitted in English and Spanish via audio and text so that individuals with disabilities and limited English proficiency will have options for reading the message.
  • In addition to the EAS visual message being displayed in a manner consistent with the FCC’s current rules (that is, at the top of the TV screen, or where it will not interfere with other visual messages), the message is required to be displayed in a size, color, contrast, location, and speed that is readily readable and understandable.
  • The FCC’s current rules require that the EAS message will not contain overlapping lines of EAS text, and will not extend beyond the viewable display.

An American Sign Language (ASL) video about this test can be found at this link:

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(Gallatin County, Mont.)
On Friday, September 22, 2017, at approximately 4:00PM, the Gallatin County 911 Dispatch Center received a call from a passing motorist on I-90 at the bridge over the Gallatin River. The motorist stated they were certain they had seen a small child/infant, or possibly a doll, with blonde hair, dressed in a red jumpsuit, floating face down in the Gallatin River.

Two deputies immediately deployed to the bridge and the Four Corners Fishing Access outside Manhattan to contain the outermost search limits.

Over 20 members from various Gallatin County Search and Rescue Teams, along with Reach Air Ambulance, searched the section of the Gallatin River between the interstate and the Four Corners Fishing Access. No bodies or dolls were found, but a red couch cushion was located down-river from the I-90 bridge, which may account for the sighting. The search was concluded at 7:00PM.

No missing person reports have been received.

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