In a press release Thursday morning, members of the Gallatin County Law Enforcement signed an open letter to the communities they serve, assuring citizens they are committed to accessibility, fairness, and transparency.
Here's the letter in full:
An open letter to the community:
The tragedy that occurred in Minneapolis involving law enforcement and Mr. George Floyd is not reflective of the professionalism, values, or service provided by your law enforcement agencies here in Gallatin County or throughout the state of Montana. The events transpiring across the United States have impacted our nation deeply. We would be remiss if we did not acknowledge the larger questions and issues raised that need to be addressed on a national scale and continue at the local level.
The law enforcement agencies of Gallatin County want to assure our citizens that we are committed to serving our communities with accessibility, fairness, and transparency, consistent with our communities’ values. Each agency maintains a strong record of faithful service to our community members in accordance with national best practices, policies, and Montana law.
Collectively, we practice stringent hiring practices with thorough background checks and psychological testing. Throughout their professional careers, law enforcement officers receive rigorous training in all areas including anti-bias, anti-racial profiling, de-escalation, and crisis intervention, as well as recognizing implicit bias. Our agencies have policies in place prohibiting racial profiling as well as use-of-force policies requiring all uses of force to be reviewed at multiple levels.
We are committed to protecting the Constitutional rights of all citizens and value each member of our communities. We believe that diverse backgrounds and perspectives make us stronger as a community.
Trust is earned through our actions and we are devoted to continuing our strong relationship with our community. We will continue our commitment to serving with empathy and the highest professional standards.
Chief EJ Clark – Belgrade Police Department
Chief Steve Crawford – Bozeman Police Department
Chief Bill Dove – Gallatin County Airport Authority
Chief Kevin Gillilan – MSU Police Department
Sheriff Brian Gootkin – Gallatin County
Chief Scott Newell – West Yellowstone Police
Captain Mark Wilfore – Montana Highway Patrol