NewsLocal News


Bozeman airport police chief talks about arrest of man harassing TSA agents, recent increase in incidents

The man's arrest is the fourth incident at Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport in less than two weeks, according to Police Chief Bill Dove.
Posted at 1:38 PM, May 08, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-08 15:38:06-04

BOZEMAN — On Monday, travelers at Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport pulled out their phones in shock as they watched a man being detained by police.

“With the population growing, we’re starting to see a slight increase in this kind of stuff,” said BZN Police Chief Bill Dove.

In a video shared by a woman at the airport on Monday, you can see and hear a man yelling with his hands cuffed, legs restrained, and a mask put over his head by airport police, assisted by Belgrade police officers.

The man’s name is Michael Steen. He was seen in Gallatin County Justice Court Tuesday morning. He is charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Dove recalls what happened as 47-year-old Steen and his wife arrived at the airport.

“He had been drinking prior to arrival,” said Dove. “That, combined with some mental health issues led to a mental health crisis once he passed through security and on to our concourse.”

I wasn’t allowed to film it, but in the security footage I was shown, Steen can be seen making inappropriate gestures on a metal table by the TSA checkpoint. He later is seen flipping off TSA agents.

Once he reaches the concourse, police try to reason with Steen.

“That’s when his behavior actually ramps up,” said Dove.

Eventually, police detain Steen and wheel him away.

“Our job is to protect the public and there is no way he could be on an airplane,” said Dove.

Dove says this is the fourth event like this at the airport in less than two weeks. But luckily, they have an experienced staff with expertise in de-escalating these situations.

“A lot of the guys here are seasoned veterans who’ve had mental health crisis counseling and crisis intervention training,” said Dove.

But even so, Dove says he’s cautiously optimistic it’ll be a nice and calm summer at the airport.

“We would hope the issues don’t continue to ramp up,” said Dove. “Maybe we just hit a little speed bump here for a week or two and it’ll die down.”

Steen pleaded not guilty to both charges. His next appearance is scheduled for July 24.