June 19, 2014

Laying down the law

By Jerry W. Kram

David Shawstad likes a challenge.

That’s one of the reasons he was attracted to the position of Chief of the New Town Police Department.

Shawstad began his tenure in May following the resignation of Art Walgren, who left to become the Chief of the Watford City Police Department. In Shawstad’s first weeks on the job, he has gotten the force back up to near full strength and is looking forward to making New Town a safer place to live.

Shawstad grew up in the Fargo-Moorhead area where his father was a fire fighter. When he was a teenager, he participated in a program that allowed young people to ride along with police officers on duty.

"After a couple of those, it was in my blood," Shawstad said. "It was like, ‘Yeah! This is what I want to do.’"

He went on to get a two year degree in criminal justice from Hibbing Community College in Minnesota and became a licensed officer in Minnesota. He has been a law enforcement officer for 18 years. He worked in Wyoming and North Dakota and has been a member of the Detroit Lakes, Minn., Police Department for the last 13 years. He saw the move to New Town as the next logical step in his career.

"I saw this as an opportunity in a growing community and a chance to grow with the department," Shawstad said. "We have a young group of officers who need some direction and I just thought it was a great chance. We also have the dark side of the oil patch where you are seeing stuff out here that I have seen before. I know how to deal with that stuff. But I am just here make the town safer."

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