GALLATIN COUNTY — Technically, at this point in time, Gallatin County does not have a sheriff.
But the Gallatin County Commission says they’re going to be looking for an interim sheriff soon, and after that, somebody will have some big shoes to fill.
“That’s probably the biggest challenge for the next person. Would be to carry and maintain that kind of universal support that Sheriff Gootkin has garnered in our community over the years,” said the new Chairman of the Gallatin County Commission, Scott MacFarlane.
December 31st, 2020 was Sheriff Gootkin’s last day with the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office.
Now, the Gallatin County Commission is tasked with finding a replacement for Gootkin, who’s been Sheriff since 2012.
The wheels are already turning.
“The first step is usually to get an interim Sheriff appointed just to kind of carry on duties while we go through a formal public process,” said MacFarlane.
The interim Sheriff will hold their role until Commissioners appoint a permanent replacement to serve as Sheriff through Gootkin’s term which ends in 2022.
MacFarlane says the application process for the Sheriff’s replacement will be open to anybody.
And the public’s involvement will be welcome, but the details on how the public can be involved are still being worked out.
“New ideas are welcome, but we don't need a lot of large changes. There’s no indication that the Sheriff’s Office needs a big direction change,” said MacFarlane.
“So we’ll be looking for somebody that may have some good ideas for new initiatives but who’s willing to carry on what we’ve been doing and the successes we’ve had.”
There’s no mapped out timeline for when this replacement will be appointed… but the Gallatin County Commission says they’re working on filling the interim position quickly.
“It’s been a little tentative for us to know when we take our steps with moving forward with communication because we don’t want to get ahead of the governor. We’d like to serve their wishes as well,” said MacFarlane.
“It is the truth that as of today, Gallatin County does not have a Sheriff.”