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Police chief wants to return to street

Posted 1/15/14 (Wed)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

Saying that he is more comfortable on the street enforcing the law than sitting behind a desk and dealing with administrative work, Jesse Wellen, Watford City Police chief, has asked the Watford City City Council to find a replacement for him.
Wellen’s surprise request came during the city council’s Jan. 6 meeting.
“I don’t enjoy administrative work,” stated Wellen, who stepped into the police chief’s duties on Jan. 11, 2013, following the resignation of Police Chief Slade Herfindahl. “I believe that my strengths in law enforcement are being on the street enforcing the laws and investigating crime.”
According to Brent Sanford, Watford City mayor, he tried to encourage Wellen not to step down as police chief, but he understands the need to do what is right for him.
“We’ve got a very stable police department right now,” stated Sanford. “And Jesse has done a very great job at being our police chief. He has worked very well with all of the officers in building a collaborative team and has the respect of other area and state law enforcement agencies.”
Part of Wellen’s rationale for wanting to step down as chief is he believes that the department needs someone in the position who has more experience.
“I’ve only been in law enforcement since 2011,” states Wellen. “And our department is very young as well. Officer Dan Blood, who has six years of law enforcement experience, is our senior officer.”
While Wellen looks to get away from administrative work, he still wants to be an active member of the Watford City Police Dept.
“I don’t believe that I have the necessary law enforcement experience to be a police chief,” states Wellen. “I don’t have the skills necessary to lead the department. But I can be an asset by being on the street.”
While the city council agreed to begin the process of seeking a new chief, Wellen says that he is willing to remain in the position until a replacement can be hired.
“I would like to be a part of the recruitment and hiring process,” stated Wellen.
Following the council’s approval last Monday to begin a search for a new police chief, Wellen says that he has started the process of advertising the position.
“Hopefully, we will find a good candidate who has the experience that we need to be our police chief,” states Wellen.