WCC grants permission to hire two deputies
Sheriff Wild waiting for BCI report on shooting incident
GRAFTON – Walsh County Sheriff Lauren Wild appeared before the the Walsh County Board of Commissioners Tuesday to address a manpower shortage.
Wild said two deputies have made their intentions known that they will be leaving the department in the near future.
Wild said Fred Marquardt, a 12-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department, will be moving to Pembina County as his wife has become an ordained minister and has accepted a job at a parish in Cavalier.
Deputy Mike Gavere has accepted a job with the Grand Forks Police Department. Wild said both deputies have built up considerable amounts of vacation time and won’t be available for many hours before they officially leave the department, so they are basically two officers short at the moment.
Ernie Barta made the motion to allow Wild to begin seeking qualified candidates to fill the positions. The motion was seconded by Jack Karas. The motion passed unanimously with all members, Barta, Karas, Allen Ruzicka, Karen Anderson and Luther Meberg voting in favor.
Wild also briefed the board about the recent officer-involved shooting that occurred on Sept. 3 near Lankin. Wild said that he is still waiting for the report to come back from the North Dakota Bureau of Investigation (BCI), but in his words everything looks good.
On Sept. 3, Walsh County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the call of a domestic dispute west of Lankin on County Road 15.
After a search of the property and a stand-off, a 25-year-old suspect was shot when he raised a shotgun at officers. Three shots were fired with the first shot hitting the suspect who was taken to Altru Hospital.
Wild said the officer involved in the shooting who was initially put on paid administrative leave has returned to work.
Commissioner Meberg told Wild that he heard three separate complaints about a vehicle responding to the scene that evening that drove through Park River at a high rate of speed without its lights or siren. Wild said he was unaware of the situation and would look into it.
In one other item, Wild presented commissioners with a preliminary cost assessment to hire a truck regulatory officer that would be shared with Pembina and Cavalier counties.
The commission has been discussing the hiring of such an officer to enforce truck road restrictions especially during harvest and spring planting.
Commissioners say they have not budgeted for the position yet, but could find the money if a hire is made before next spring. The total cost of start up for the position, including salary, a vehicle, scales and miscellaneous items is projected at around $125,000. That cost would be split three ways if approved.
In other business the commission
• Reviewed the 2014 budget. A first reading of the budget passed during the Sept. 4 regular meeting of the commission. The budget calls for a 1.35 mill reduction, however, taxes the county levies will still go up about 7 percent due to a rise in taxable valuation of farmland. A second reading of the budget will be held at the Oct. 1 meeting.
• Approved a motion to hire the engineering firm of Kadrmas, Lee and Jackson to do the preliminary design and construction engineering for three road projects in the county which will be paid for with funds allocated from House Bill 1358. A bid was also submitted by Widseth Smith Nolting of Grand Forks. The projects, two gravel reconstructions and one hot bituminous overlay are scheduled for 2014. Meberg said that this was the first time in eight and a half years that a competitive bid from an engineering firm other than KLJ has been entertained. He suggested that some work be given to Widseth Smith Nolting to see what they could do.
Walsh County Highway Superintendent Sharon Lipsh recommended hiring KLJ for the work. She said they not only consider price but expertise when awarding their engineering bids.
• Awarded a bid to TR Farms of Grafton for snow removal services for the Walsh County Courthouse, Law Enforcement Center and Chase Building parking lots for the winter of 2013-2014.
The next regular meeting of the Walsh County Commission is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 1 at 9 a.m., in Commission Chambers Room 100 at the Walsh County Courthouse.