Due to public outcry over a decision to send deputies to support North Dakota law enforcement and the battle over the Dakota Access pipeline, Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin has reversed his decision.

In an on-line post Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin announced his decision to not send deputies to North Dakota.

“Yesterday I had made a decision to send Deputies to the protest in North Dakota to help with that volatile situation. I have been in protest situations in my career and fully understand that in many cases law enforcement is placed in the middle of two emotional opposing interests and we have to attempt to balance our role as peace officer and law enforcement. Many of you emailed and called the Office to voice your concerns.

As your Sheriff I was very humbled by the honest conversations we had. Although my actions were well intentioned you made it clear that you do not want your Sheriff’s Office involved in this conflict. One of the biggest differences of an elected Sheriff from other law enforcement leaders is that I am directly accountable to the people I serve (YOU) and although I am personally torn knowing that people (Including Montanans) are hurting over there, we will not be responding. Finally I am incredibly grateful that we live in a place where we can have differences and talk about them respectfully as adults without conflict. Thank you.

“I got messages from England, Poland, New Zealand, Australia,” Gootkin recalled. And he received phone calls and hundreds of emails from his constituents, too — people that may have elected him sheriff. They were concerned about the use of force on protesters, he said, and also had been affected by the public outrage from Minneapolis’ Hennepin County.

 Photo Credit: John Heminger

Minneapolis’ Hennepin County has received some of the loudest public outrage as taxpayers, voters, even state lawmakers turned out to denounce Sheriff Stanek’s decision to send Minnesota personnel and equipment to Standing Rock. “I do not have any control over the Sheriff’s actions, which I think were wrong,” said Lt. Gov. Tina Smith in a prepared statement. “I believe he should bring his deputies home, if he hasn’t already. I strongly support the rights of all people to peacefully protest, including, tonight, the Standing Rock protest.”

Sheriff Dave Mahoney from Wisconsin’s Dane County was also empathetic to those decrying deployment of his officers. “All share the opinion that our deputies should not be involved in this situation,” Mahoney told the Bismarck Tribune. He and his unit stood by Morton County officers for one week before pulling out and refusing to return.
 Blackfeet water protector at sacred land

Responses to "Sheriffs Refuse to Send Troops to Standing Rock due to intense public response"

  1. Anonymous says:

    Strength in Solidarity, Protection in Prayer. Pray for Peace, and the best possible outcome for all, amen!

  2. iota says:

    These Sherrifs deserve thanks and respect for being true public servants acting on behalf of citizens. At a time when law enforcement is so often conscripted to serve corporate and political interests at the expense of citizens' interests, wishes and legal rights, the choice to protect and serve the citizenry is brave and righteous! Thank you for listening to the true will of the people and acting in accordance with the LAW which is intended to protect the people.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Good choice, you act in the interest of and for the peoples!!!!!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    It's what you do when what you do is right.

  5. Unknown says:

    It's what you do when what you do is right.

  6. Unknown says:

    Aho Mitakuyepi. I applaud with respect, those of the entire law enforcement who have stood their ground in refusing to get involved in this corporate instigated situation, and have chosen to believe in the rights of the people to their peaceful protests, over corporate-driven bullying tactics applied by those who cannot see past their actions of violence on unarmed people defending their rights, and the rights of all humanity.
    To one and all standing with Standing Rock, Wakan Tanka kici un.
    Trevor Mills
    New Zealand.

  7. The world watches what you do to our water.

  8. Unknown says:

    The world is watching---so is the Universe.

  9. Judy Ingram says:

    I commend those public officials who have decided not to participate with law enforcement at Standing Rock. I also commend the Vets who will arrive at Standing Rock to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux on December 4. As a descendant of the Miami and Powhatan Nation, I find it very unsettling and disturbing what is happening at Standing Rock. We need to all start standing up for ourselves against greed and corruption!

  10. A few words to the police and sheriff who are still there.

    The Great Dictator Final Speech

  11. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for listening to the people.

  12. PenniPete says:

    Thank you Sheriff Gootkin!

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