FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!

Dynamic Plaques - FVT Plaques
FVT Plaques is introducing new dynamic plaques to recognize police and sheriff's...

Security Policy and the Cloud

Ask The Expert

Mark Rivera

FBI-CJIS Security Policy Compliance Officer

Mark Rivera, Customer Retention Manager and CJIS Security Compliance Officer with Vigilant Solutions, served for sixteen years with the Maryland State Police, retiring at the rank of First Sergeant with thirteen of those years at the supervisory and command level. He holds a Master of Science Degree in Management from The Johns Hopkins University and Secret clearance through the FBI, Baltimore.

Departments : Shots Fired

Shots Fired: Bozeman, Montana 06/02/2006

Working overtime and with his wife in the passenger seat, Lt. Rich McLane made a routine traffic stop and then it was no longer routine.

July 26, 2010  |  by - Also by this author

Like most college towns, Bozeman, Mont., has its fair share of DUIs and all around bad drivers. Responsibility for keeping these vehicular threats in check falls largely on the shoulders of the city police department. To that end, the Bozeman Police Department occasionally hires its own on overtime to do traffic enforcement, and on the night of June 2, 2006, Lt. Rich McLane was working in that capacity.

Normally, McLane wasn't one for ridealongs. He had enough problems watching out for his own welfare without worrying about whoever was occupying the passenger seat. But tonight that passenger seat was occupied by his wife, Rhonda.

McLane felt that she'd earned the right. If Rhonda had figuratively been by his side during his 14 years with the department, she might as well occasionally tag along with him on duty as well.

Truth be told, McLane appreciated his wife's company and believed there was profit to her occasionally joining him. It served as a reminder that the job wasn't always as dangerous as some made it out to be. That was the gameplan when they pulled away from the station.

Making a Stop

Two hours and a dozen traffic stops later, McLane found himself monitoring traffic on the west edge of town where the highway adjoins Yellowstone National Park. He picked up a red truck doing 53 in a 35 mph construction zone. Making a U-turn, he activated his overhead lights and siren to effect a traffic stop of the vehicle.

The truck took a little longer than normal to pull over than most. McLane knew this could be attributable to any number of things, ranging from intoxication to someone planning something dangerous or just being a bad driver.

He was planning any number of reactions. But the vehicle finally pulled to the side of the highway and McLane stopped behind it. He angled his car slightly to the left rear of the vehicle so as to afford himself the cover of the engine block as well as a corridor in which to make his approach of the driver.

McLane then called in the truck's license plate. But Friday nights can be busy for Bozeman dispatch, and tonight was no exception as the return was taking longer than normal. After some time had passed, he elected to get out of his car and contact the driver anyway.

As he stepped from his patrol vehicle, McLane saw that the driver was monitoring his approach, alternately checking his side and rearview mirrors. Again, something to notice, but nothing to be alarmed about. Still, it registered in the back of his mind.

The Return

Then just as he came abreast of the driver's side of the pickup, McLane heard his radio crackle.

"Are you 10-12?"

Bozeman dispatch was finally getting back with McLane's return and asking if he was out of earshot of his detention.

Not only was McLane not out of earshot but he was now within a foot of the detainee's open window. Not comfortable with the prospect of turning his back or otherwise backpedaling to receive the information, he ignored it. Whatever dispatch had to pass on would have to wait. McLane felt that he was now committed to dealing with the driver.

If McLane had retreated to his patrol unit and copied the information, he would have learned that the driver, Gary Gottfried, had over the prior few weeks grown increasingly volatile and depressed. Most recently, Gottfried had made threats to his ex-girlfriend that he would kill her and any cop that tried to come between them.

McLane was now that cop.

Get Your FREE Trial Issue and Win a Gift! Subscribe Today!
Yes! Please rush me my FREE TRIAL ISSUE of POLICE magazine and FREE Officer Survival Guide with tips and tactics to help me safely get out of 10 different situations.

Just fill in the form to the right and click the button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.

If POLICE does not satisfy you, just write "cancel" on the invoice and send it back. You'll pay nothing, and the FREE issue is yours to keep. If you enjoy POLICE, pay only $25 for a full one-year subscription (12 issues in all). Enjoy a savings of nearly 60% off the cover price!

Offer valid in US only. Outside U.S., click here.
It's easy! Just fill in the form below and click the red button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.
First Name:
Last Name:
Zip Code:
We respect your privacy. Please let us know if the address provided is your home, as your RANK / AGENCY will not be included on the mailing label.
E-mail Address:

Police Magazine