Sheriff's barbeque spreads awareness about Belgrade substation

GALLATIN COUNTY

POSTED: 4:56 PM Jul 13 2013   UPDATED: 7:59 PM Jul 13 2013
BELGRADE, Mont. -

The Gallatin County Sheriff's Office opened up their River Rock substation in May and, already, residents say they've noticed a difference.

"I think this event's important to let people know that there is protection in the area," says seasonal Belgrade resident Ned Maxson.

Maxson lives in Ohio but spends his summer months in Belgrade. He tells me he's glad to know law enforcement patrols his neighborhood even when he's not around.

"For folks like myself who aren't here year round, it's a big plus," says Maxson.

Darlene Idland, on the other hand, has spent her whole life in Montana and most of it in Belgrade. She tells me she's noticed a shift over the years.

"We used to never lock our doors and we lock doors now," says Idland.

Idland says Belgrade Police do a great job, but says she's thrilled to have more law enforcement around outside city limits.

"When I go over to the little convenience store, I see teenage or younger kids that look like little hoodlums and I'm hoping this will dissuade them from doing something stupid," explains Idland.

I talked to Sheriff Brian Gootkin who tells me it's all about presence.

"Presence does deter. It doesn't necessarily stop all the time but, presence is a lot. It's huge," says Gootkin.

Gootkin explains there have been some problems, not just in River Rock, but in the entire area. He says there's only so much deputies can do from their patrol cars.

"You still have to be able to get on the computer, write your reports," explains Gootkin.

That's one reason why the substation is so important. Gootkin says there won't be someone there 24/7 but when they are there, folks are invited to stop in and visit.

"That's what it's all about is being in touch with community," says Gootkin.

It means getting deputies out of the Bozeman office and into neighborhoods like River Rock.

Sheriff Brian Gootkin tells us the BBQ was a big hit. They gave out 170 hamburgers and 200 hot dogs.