January 2, 2014

New Town starts police force

By Jerry W. Kram

The New Town Police Force took over law enforcement in New Town on January 1 from the Mountrail County Sheriff’s Department. Over the course of the year, the realities of creating a new law enforcement agency in the oil patch has become apparent to Police Chief Art Walgren and the New Town City Council as turnover and housing problems have made it difficult to manage the department.

In January, Walgren said the changeover from enforcement by the Mountrail County Sheriff’’s Department was smooth as all of the town’s officers patrolled on New Year’s Eve. He said in the first two weeks operations there have been a few hiccups that are to be expected with any new operation.

"We haven’t had any real problems at all," Walgren said. "The first few weeks have been working out the bugs. We’ve had a few small issues with working out the jail and the court and things like that. But we are getting those worked out."

Walgren said he was already getting a lot of feedback from New Town residents.

"A lot of people have been coming into the office to talk," Walgren said. "We even have had a few people from outside the city limits asking if we could help with their problems. So I would say the response from the community has been very positive. We’ve been attending events and talking to people and things like that."

Along with a new police force the city added a new city prosecutor and city court. The first meeting for the city court was on Jan. 23.

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