- Associated Press - Sunday, September 21, 2014

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) - A West Yellowstone police chief who was fired after a state investigation found he selectively enforced the law and violated court orders will not face criminal charges.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle (https://bit.ly/XU65Ru) reports former chief Gordon Berger’s attorney Brian Gallik said Friday that the Gallatin County attorney will not file charges against Berger.

After the investigation, the West Yellowstone town council in August confirmed a recommendation to end Berger’s employment immediately.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin began looking into the West Yellowstone department last fall after the National Park Service suspended its mutual aid agreement with West Yellowstone police, citing a lack of training and safety concerns. Gootkin criticized Berger for a lack of training and oversight of the department and recommended the state investigation.

Berger told the council in June that many of his department’s problems stemmed from the challenges of policing a remote, small town, and they were not caused by leadership issues.

The investigation by the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation recommended that criminal charges be filed against Berger.

Berger selectively enforced certain laws and told officers and others not to issue citations to certain people, according to a summary of the state investigation.

The state determined that Berger several times did not know the law or chose not to enforce it in domestic assault and DUI cases and that he did not follow court orders when defendants were sentenced to jail or drug testing. Investigators also found that Berger at least twice helped people get Montana car titles for vehicles reported stolen in Idaho and that he failed to check the vehicle identification number.

Montana also uncovered “substantial” evidence that Berger did not follow laws on sales of town property and abandoned vehicles; that he has requested K-9 searches of cars without probable cause; and that he came in contact with a felon in illegal possession of a gun and did not seize the gun, arrest the felon or complete an investigative file. The person was later arrested and charged in Idaho.

The former chief in a July 21 letter to the town said his attorney was never given any evidence or clarification into the report’s allegations.

Berger had been West Yellowstone’s police chief since 2006 and had been with the department for 28 years.


Information from: Bozeman Daily Chronicle, https://www.bozemandailychronicle.com

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide