Board approves interlocal agreements with Gallatin, Jefferson Counties

VIRGINIA CITY – Madison County Sheriff Dave Schenk met with the Madison County Commissioners on Tuesday to discuss interlocal agreements with law enforcement in Gallatin and Jefferson Counties.

The commissioners carried a motion to approve an interlocal agreement with Gallatin County to house Madison County detainees at the Gallatin County Detention Center in Bozeman. The agreement covers the expense of housing two inmates per month at a cost of $65 per day. The county pays for the space in the Gallatin County Detention Center whether it is filled or not, and Schenk explained that the Madison County Sheriff’s Department has an average of three to four detainees in custody at any given time.

One discussion point was the issue of liability for detainees while they are being transported to and from the Gallatin County Detention Center. Schenk said that the inmates are the responsibility of the county until they are transferred to the custody of another county. The motion was carried pending a liability insurance certificate covering transportation of inmates to and from Gallatin County.

Schenk also discussed a memorandum of agreement between the Madison and Jefferson County Sheriffs’ Offices to cross-deputize officers in the interest of establishing mutual law enforcement and transcending jurisdictional boundaries.

The agreement stems from a case in recent years where Jefferson County law enforcement crossed into Madison County in pursuit of a felony driving under the influence stop.

The agreement gives officers the authority to conduct law enforcement actions within the other counties’ jurisdiction. Both the Madison County Sheriff’s Office and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office have determined that such an agreement will increase the protection of the public and property and is beneficial, economical and advantageous to the public interest.

Commissioners expressed concern about what the agreement will cost Madison County. Because of the geography of the region, Jefferson County law enforcement would be able to respond to calls from the northern part of the county faster than officers from Madison County. Essentially, the agreement means that Jefferson County deputies would be more active in Madison County than Madison County deputies would be in Jefferson County.

Each county would be required to cover the costs and expenses of performing their obligations in the other jurisdiction with the exception of a major occurrence or a large number of incidents within a period of 30 days. This is specified as an incident involving a large number of officers or more than five incidents within the 30 day period. In that event the individual counties’ sheriffs’ office would be allowed to request reimbursement from the other county for fuel, manpower and other expenses.

Schenk said that the agreement is “a step in the right direction if we can keep that momentum going.”

Commisisoners agreed with the necessity of having such an agreement in place and requested additional information as to the counties’ financial responsibility.

Commissioner Dan Happel made a motion to approve the MOA and the motion carried, with the amendment that the financial aspects of the agreement be evaluated after six months to ensure it is suitable for both counties.

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