While it was announced on Monday that Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin would be leaving to head up the Montana Department of Corrections, the sheriff had actually already retired from his post last week.
New Governor Greg Gianforte picked Gootkin to join his administration. In a statement released by the sheriff's office this week, Gootkin said, “I will miss serving the people of Gallatin County as Sheriff and our Sheriff’s Office family. I am honored and excited to be nominated by Gov. Gianforte to be part of such an incredible team!”
Gootkin has been Gallatin County's Sheriff since 2012. He was appointed by the County Commission, replacing former Sheriff Jim Cashell. The citizens of Gallatin County re-elected Gootkin three times to serve as their sheriff. He was with the department since 1993.
The Gallatin County Commission will now go to work to find a replacement to serve as sheriff for the remainder of Gootkin’s term, which ends at the end of 2022. In the meantime, the Commission will appoint an interim sheriff.
Following an application period, the top three applicants will be interviewed by Commissioners, who will then appoint a permanent replacement at a public meeting.
No dates for this process have been set.
“Sheriff Gootkin has served as an ambitious and tireless servant to the residents and visitors of Gallatin County,” said Gallatin County Commissioner Scott MacFarlane. “He has proved an unmatched willingness to address ever-evolving law enforcement challenges and is responsible for driving common sense and compassionate changes in our Sheriff’s Office for the health and safety of all citizens. It is a testament to his career and leadership that the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office is the envy of counties throughout the region. Gov. Gianforte could not have identified a better individual to lead our state’s Department of Corrections. Sheriff Gootkin has our sincerest gratitude and will continue to have the support of Gallatin County as he tackles new challenges for our great state.”