Minot News

Upholding The Law

Officers Are Being Held Accountable

Its been a difficult year for law enforcement statewide being accused of crimes.

In 2017, several law enforcement officers have been fired for wrongful actions.

We start with Wells County Sheriff Johnny Lawson.

Lawson is facing multiple charges related to drugs, and help aid a drug ring in his county.

LaMoure Police Chief James Watson faces multiple sexual abuse of a child charges.

Williston Police Officer and Mckenzie County Sheriff, Bryton Dahl was accused of engaging in sexual acts with a 16 year old boy.

The problem goes beyond these four however.

These issues are statewide, and includes charges and allegations of workplace bullying, misconduct and inefficieny, and sexual assault.

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Minot Police Captain John Klug says if one person makes a mistake it blackens the eye for the whole career field.

With law enforcement held to a higher standard than the average citizen we wanted to find out what it takes to take up the shield, and become a member of the blue.

"I hold myself to a very high standard and we try to hold the officers to a similar standard," said Larry Hubbard, Ward County Chief Deputy.

Being held to a high standard is important because these are the people that serve and protect our communities.

"We're dealing with people's freedom on a daily basis," said Hubbard.

Just like everyone else, even our law enforcement can make mistakes.

"Law enforcement is human as well," said John Klug, Minot Police Investigations Commander.

But when you're paid to protect and serve those mistakes are magnified.

"There's a lot of pressures out there and why people make the decisions they do, I can't judge that," said Klug.

Recruitment and retention is a tough issue for law enforcement to solve.

"The one problem that everybody's facing nationwide not just here is trying to find enough qualified applicants," said Klug.

Klug says that it's hard to convince people to join a career that many times is put into bad light.

"A lot of people have reduced a lot of their minimum requirements," said Klug.

At the Minot Police Department and the Ward County Sheriff Department, you are required to complete an application.

"You have to go through a series of testing which does include drug testing," said Hubbard.

That follows with a physical test, a psychological exam, and a background check.

"For one year, they're being evaluated every 3 months to make sure that they are meeting the standards as we see," said Klug.

After that full year, there isn't any testing done regularly for officers. The exception to testing an officer is if the department has reason to believe there's a problem.

At the Minot PD, the only requirement is to get a physical done every other year.

"Should there be different drug testing? Should there be additional pyschological testing? Probably," said Klug.

Both officers say that in order to keep all the officers at a high standard, everyone must hold themselves and co-workers accountable.

Klug and Hubbard say that it's unfortunate to see officers make bad choices, but the best thing to do is move forward with our current and future officers.

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Between national headlines of police misconduct, and state-wide concerns we wanted to know how our community feels about law enforcement.

"I've known of people that needed their help and their always quick and respond fast," said Jessi Erdmann, Minot Resident.

"With increase in our population that's came in as of the last 5 years, obviously you're going to have some bad apples move in and for them dealing with budget issues and constraints I think they're doing a great job," said Kalvin Larson, Minot Resident

Captain Klug says events such coffee with a cop allow them to make connections with the community.


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