Posted 3/11/14 (Tue)
By Stephanie Norman
Farmer Staff Writer
The Watford City Police Department hired a new chief of police to fill Jesse Wellen’s position as he chooses to step down - becoming assistant chief of police.
Art Walgren will begin his duties as the Watford City Chief of Police on April 1. He is currently the chief of police in New Town with many years of experience in law enforcement.
“Walgren will bring 24 good years of experience to Watford City,” Wellen said. “Because he is currently in New Town, he is already familiar with the Bakken and he knows what we’re going through.”
According to Watford City Mayor Brent Sanford, “Art is aware and understands what we’re looking for in a chief and he knows what to expect from Watford City.”
Walgren said he is excited to join the law enforcement in Watford City and sees many opportunities for himself and the department.
“I’m very familiar with the oil patch,” Walgren said. “I’ve watched how Watford City has handled the growth and they’ve done great.”
Walgren expressed that he enjoys spending time in the community and getting to know people and he is excited with the amenities that Watford has to offer.
“I’m big into the community,” Walgren said. “It’s important for the community to be recognized and represented by the local police department.”
Finding long-term help is sometimes difficult in this area as many people know.
“One of my major goals is to recruit officers who want to stay here and call Watford City their home,” Walgren said. “The goal is stability. We have to be able to manage the growth that we know is still coming.”
With the growth and increase in population, the crime rate has also spiked.
According to Wellen, there has been an increase in service calls compared to this time last year. So far, there has been 563 calls into the police station this year, which was at 450 last year at this time.
There have also been 80 crime reports filed in 2014, which is up form 73 last year at this time, Wellen pointed out.