The Gallatin County Coroner’s Office and the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office were combined in 2008; the elected Sheriff also has the title and responsibilities of the County Coroner. The marriage of the two professions provides for a more efficient means of providing care to the citizens of Gallatin County and the investigation experience gained by law enforcement officers readily lends itself to death investigations.
The Coroner Division is, for the most part, administered by the Undersheriff, with day-to-day operations being overseen by the Chief Deputy Coroner. In addition to the Chief Deputy Coroner, there are traditionally five Deputy Coroners who cover the greater Gallatin Valley. The Deputy Sheriffs assigned to Big Sky and West Yellowstone are trained Deputy Coroners as well and cover their respective areas. We retained two civilian Deputy Coroners from the previous system, one in the valley and one in West Yellowstone, who handle death investigations on a regular basis and enhance our services with their years of experience.
Deputy Coroners respond to and investigate:
-- deaths that are not attended by a physician or on hospice care
-- deaths in a hospital wherein the patient was admitted less than 24 hours
-- deaths suspected of being caused by an accident or another person
-- juvenile deaths
-- any death requiring investigation as requested by a physician.
All hospice deaths are reported to the coroner on call to ensure the circumstances were of a natural manner and all cremations must be authorized by a coroner as well.
Coroners must affirmatively pass a board interview designed to test their ability to investigate and show compassion. They must attend a specialized death investigation course at the Montana Law Enforcement Academy within one year of becoming a coroner and attend a minimum of 16 hours of continued approved advanced death investigation training every two years. They are scheduled throughout each month so that a Deputy Coroner is on call 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
If you need to reach a Deputy Coroner for questions, call 406-582-2100 and select option #2. Our Dispatch Center will have the on-call Deputy Coroner contact you.