Sheriff Recommends Placing W. Yellowstone Police Chief On Admini - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Sheriff Recommends Placing W. Yellowstone Police Chief On Administrative Leave

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The Gallatin County Sheriff recommends placing the West Yellowstone Police Chief, Gordon Berger on paid administrative leave while possible criminal charges could be pressed against him.

"Anyone of us that are on law enforcement were ever being investigated, we automatically have that person placed on administrative leave," said Brian Gootkin, Gallatin County Sheriff.

Last fall, Berger was investigated by the Montana Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation for how the police department handled cases and investigations.

Since then the investigation has been turned over to the county attorney's office.

"We can't risk the public's safety and the public's trust," said Gootkin. "It's also not fair for the employees to who the allegations are against so that is something that has to happen."

Gootkin's recommendation was based around a report done by the sheriff's department. In that report, deputies interviewed every West Yellowstone police officer including the Chief of Police. They concluded that training and investigations done in West Yellowstone both need to be addressed.

"Basic core training for new officers is pretty nonexistent and there is no training in investigations," said Gootkin.

Gootkin said the police department has sent some of their officers to training, but that training is not for new officers.

"I think they are concerned about the current situation with the police department and then there are other people like the town manager and the police chief that obviously disagree with my report," said Gootkin.

Gootkin said if the town council does decide to put the police chief on administrative leave then either one of their officers would be an acting chief or he would take over until the investigation is complete.

Gallatin County Attorney, Marty Lambert said he has not filed any charges against Chief Berger yet.
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