December 24, 2013

Law enforcement clash comes to a head


By Jerry W. Kram

New Town has a new police commissioner as disagreements over the handling of city police department boiled over at the regular New Town City Council meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 18.

Council member Jay Standish and New Town City Police Chief Art Walgren engaged in a vigorous debate over the operation of police department. Standish said he believes that Walgren has been flouting Standish’s authority as his supervisor and failed to carry out actions as instructed by the council.

Standish said his primary concern was that Walgren hadn’t produced a policy and procedures manual for the department. He said this opened up the city to liability problems if one of the officers was ever involved in a serious incident. Walgren responded that he received a grant to work with a company that was helping develop a manual that would not only serve New Town, but could be used by communities across North Dakota. Walgren said the process of creating that manual is very complicated.

Standish also said Walgren had soured relations with area law enforcement agencies, especially with the Three Affiliated Tribes Police Department. He also said Walgren was responsible for the high turnover of officers in the department. Walgren responded by asking Standish for the names of the people who were upset with him. To that Standish replied, "Just ask anyone over there."

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