BOZEMAN — A California man who reportedly said he was the new sheriff of Gallatin County was arrested Saturday after making threats at a Bozeman motel.
Mark K. Ward, 44, was seen in Gallatin County Justice Court on a felony charge of impersonating a public servant. Ward was serving as the assistant director of public safety systems for Gallatin County. County officials reportedly terminated his employment as soon as they were made aware of his arrest. Ward had been in the position since, Feb. 22, 2021.
According to charging documents, on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, Bozeman Police Officers responded to a Bozeman motel on Wheat Drive after a report made by a manager that a guest was saying he was the new sheriff of Gallatin County and was using his position “as a police officer” to demand things from the staff. Ward reportedly also threatened to shoot a guest. The manager told officers that she and her employees felt compelled to give Ward a discount due to their respect and cooperation with local law enforcement.
The total amount of the discount due to Ward’s alleged position was $345.61.
During an interview with a police officer, Ward said he just moved to Montana from California to work for Gallatin County and was staying at the motel while waiting to move into his new residence in Butte. Ward denied being the new sheriff when asked by motel staff, but he did request a government employee rate, which he said motel staff said would be more than he would pay if he just booked the room using an online service.
In the interview, Ward reportedly acknowledged the motel had waived the pet fee, given him a different room he requested, but denied knowing that was an upgrade he received for free. He denied ever representing himself as a law enforcement officer or official and said he was very disappointed with the service and stay at the motel.