Local Officers No Longer Being Sent to North Dakota to Assist With Protesters
UPDATE: There was a miscommunication between the Sheriff and the State of Montana in reference to the mutual aid agreement with North Dakota. Due to their not being a current agreement authorizing local law-enforcement to assist, and that reimbursement and liability are not covered, Sheriff Gootkin has decided to wait for governor Bullocks decision.
Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin has dispatched 4 deputies to assist North Dakota law enforcement with the protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Native American activist are protesting the 1,172 mile pipeline, which they say threatens the environment and will destroy Native American burial sites, prayer sites and culturally significant artifacts. They've also expressed environmental concerns if there is ever a breach.
The protests, at times, have been violent. According to Sheriff Gootkin, the Montana Highway Patrol has already sent troopers there to assist. Gootkin says, "My decision has nothing to do with the politics of the situation and only to do with trying to help deescalate a volatile situation. We are peace officers and law enforcement and I am confident that if we had a large incident occur here, they would not hesitate to help."
The Montana Sheriff’s and Peace Officers sent the request to Montana Sheriffs for assistance and are coordinating sending teams from other offices.