May 1, 2014

Law enforcement focus of Town Hall

By Jerry W. Kram

"This is not the place we used to know."

Those were the words of Mountrail County Sheriff Ken Halvorson, as he spoke at a North Segment Town Hall meeting at the Northern Lights Community Center in New Town.

Halvorson was one of three law enforcement representatives invited to speak at the town hall meeting by North Segment Representative Ken Hall. Also speaking was Anthony Hoaby, a North Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper stationed in New Town and Tyler Fauver, an officer with the New Town Police Department. Jim Miller also spoke about the segment’s new Neighborhood Watch program.

Hall said he invited the law enforcement officials because crime and public safety is one of the top three concerns he hears when he meets with the public.

"If I had to make a priority list, the safety of the people would be near the top," Hall said. "People don’t feel safe right now in New Town. The presence of these officers in the community could make a lot of difference."

Hall said the tribal drug task force has identified the New Town area as having a high level of drug use and gang activity. At the same time, area law enforcement agencies are having a hard time attracting and keeping officers. Part of the problem is finding housing for law enforcement and other emergency service workers.

"We used to have 15 or 16 tribal police officers on the Fort Berthold Reservation," Hall said. "At one point that dropped down to six. Now we are back up to 12, but we have a lot more people living here than we used to. We need to recruit and retain more officers to make a difference and have people feel safe again."

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