BOZEMAN – In just over two months, investigators from Gallatin County and beyond were able to track down and arrest dozens of what they call “violent offenders.”
It’s all a part of Operation Spring Sweep, which includes the US Marshals’ Montana Violent Offender Task Force. More than 30 arrests were made in just one operation.
Law enforcement agencies that took part in Operation Spring Sweep say it’s important for more than just one reason, and it makes it a little easier on the taxpayer.
“The streets of this community are a little bit safer today,” says Rod Ostermiller, US Marshal for the state of Montana.
Violent crime finds its way into communities nationwide, something not overlooked here in Montana.
With a lineup of agencies between Gallatin, Park, Yellowstone, Stillwater Counties and everywhere in-between — the US Marshals made some serious headway.
“80 suspects that they were going to go after. They were able to work 63 of those,” says Bozeman City Police Chief Steve Crawford. “52 cases were resolved resulting in 31 arrests.”
Starting back in March, the 12-agency task force put together that list of possible violent crime suspects.
One by one, teams arrested them.
“We pool our resources, share our information, all have one common goal; we can get a lot of work done in a short amount of time,” Ostermiller says.
Ostermiller and others like Crawford and Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin weighed in. To them, the results can be seen in the impact.
“We have an incredibly safe community but that doesn’t mean we don’t have bad people here, so it was great to work together and get some of those folks rounded up,” Gootkin says.
“It has a direct impact on crime rates, recidivism rates,” Ostermiller says. “You know, a lot of people we arrest are career criminals,” — crimes ranging from robberies, having dangerous drugs, guns, and more.
“The sooner we can get them off the street, the better it is for everyone,” Ostermiller says.
Other cases spider-webbed even further, out of state and out of country.
“The ripple effect that that has, that kind of chilling effect on bad behavior, is definitely a positive for the community,” Crawford says, a positive that each agency says makes operations like Spring Sweep so successful.
“We take our jobs very seriously and this is something that we strive to do over and over,” Ostermiller says.
Out of those 80 identified cases, five of those arrests were made outside of the country.
The US Marshals say due to the seamless nature of this operation, that was made possible.
Reporting by Cody Boyer for MTN News