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Sheriff's office could take over Three Forks police

By KTVM Staff
Published On: Jun 17 2013 07:08:42 PM MDT
Updated On: Jun 17 2013 09:46:18 PM MDT
THREE FORKS, Mont. -

The Three Forks Police Department could see some big changes in the near future. At the end of this month city leaders will discuss the potential to move the department under the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office.

We headed to Three Forks to get the facts on what this move could mean for residents.

Colter Metcalf is on patrol in Three Forks. When we met up with him on Monday afternoon, he explained to us he was the only one on duty.

"We're dealing with a large amount of on-call time, and that has a tendency to burn out officers," said Metcalf.

The Three Forks Police Department is currently down one position. In a larger department that might not be an issue, but here that's one third of the entire force. A new plan would give Metcalf and the other officer backup, by turning them into deputies and letting the sheriff's department take over.

"If we consolidate, we have access to all of their resources -- administration, investigation division, patrol, K-9, search and rescue," said Metcalf.

He further explained the sheriff's office would provide the community with more law enforcement resources.

We wanted to know what residents thought of the plan.

Nancy Roy runs a hot dog cart on Main Street. She sees the officers on patrol and told us she thinks they could use the extra help.

"We feel it is necessary that there is more protection in town," said Roy.

We also reached out Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin to get his thoughts on the plan. He tells us residents have approached him about consolidating the departments.

As Metcalf heads back on patrol, we asked him if he was on board with idea.

"I am just excited to give Three Forks a better quality of service that I think that they deserve," said Metcalf.

Gootkin says right now the cost to run the police station is right around $320,000. If they merge Three Forks police with the sheriff's department, they will do everything they can to keep the cost right around that same amount.