Chouteau County Sheriff Vern Burdick


February 12, 2020

Sheriff /Coroner Vern L. Burdick started in 1995. He had held a variety of positions before he became the Sheriff of Chouteau County in 2006. There are two deputies, who were hired for the Big Sandy area, an under-sheriff Larry Ophus, and five other deputies for a total of nine in the Sheriff's office.

Their salaries are determined in the statue. Deputies get 90% of the Sheriff's salary, under-sheriff gets 95% of the Sheriff's salary. When a raise is given, it is given to all county employees.

"Our county is safe," Sheriff Burdick replied. "We are safe. The criminals are mostly driving through, but lockeddoors keep people honest. I feel safe. We are safe."

The following are the number of cases in the county for one year. Abuse/Neglect animal,person-6; Accidents-139; Alarms-45; Ambulance/Medical Emergency-139; Ambulance transports-90; Animall-173; Arrest-123; Assault-6; Assist citizens/other agencies-338; Attempt to locate-5; Burglary-7; Burn Permits approved-12; Civil-34; Concealed Weapons-51; Criminal History request-56; Death-15; Disturbance/Disorderly Conduct-98; Drugs-4; Found/Lost Property-44; fraud/Forgery-56; Hazmat-1; Hospice-4: Internet Crimes-1; Jail incident-9; Livetock-85; Lockout vehicle or structure-51; Misconduct/Crime-30; Missing abducted Sex Exploitedu-6; Protection Order-18; Public Safety-108; Search and Rescue-1; Stalking-1; Suicide related-3; Suspicious, abandoned Vehicle-96; Thet-52; traffic Control-191; traffic Stop-184; Trespass-12; Unauthorized Use of a motor vehicle-1; Utility-15; wanted Person-42; and Weapons-2.

"Warrants are drafted here at our offices before it goes to the county attorney. Felony warrants must then go to the district court for the judge to sign. Misdemeanor warrants go before the Justice of the Peace courts."

I asked him about the two dog-related issues in Big Sandy. "If we have a signed complaint from a Big Sandy citizen, we will take action. Vicious animals are taken care of immediately." He has purchased and will buy more, barking deterrents for nuisance dogs that bark. "Talk to the deputies. There is a reluctance for people to sign a complaint, however." They cannot act unless people sign a complaint.

Currently, Teton, Liberty, Cascade County, and the state of Montana have inmates in the County Jail. Inmates at the Chouteau County Jail are waiting for a bed in the Montana State Prison. It takes 2-3 months to get a bed so they come to Fort Benton until one opens up. Right now, there are only three individuals from Chouteau County in jail, the rest are from different counties. Chouteau County earns on an average year $150,000. One busy year they broke $300,000 in income. There are six detention officers. At least one to two detention officers are on duty at all times.

He wanted everybody to realize that several scams are going on once again. He just received a phone call himself from someone yesterday requesting information. Never give personal information to anyone on the phone. Never provide credit card numbers, checking account numbers, Social Security numbers, addresses to anyone calling and requesting them from you.

He ended his interview with, "I love my job, and that's because the citizens of Chouteau County supports the Sheriff's office. They trust the Sheriff's office. They know we are here to do everything we can for the citizens of Chouteau County."


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