For the first time in 24 years voters in Bowman County will elect a new sheriff.
In this upcoming election voters will have four candidates to choose from for sheriff , and three of them are currently Bowman County Deputies, but the fourth one is Bowman County resident Jason Dodge.
“I know I can do the job and sitting back and seeing the way our county is run right now . . .
the wife and I sat back and said the county needs a different direction,” said Dodge.
He has “nearly 20 years of service with the military and civilian government agencies”, but some of candidates said they would have a hard time working for him if elected.
“Mr. Dodge has no experience in law enforcement. You don’t go into the army and come out a general, said Doug Langhoff, who is Bowman County Sheriff’s Deputy and candidate for sheriff.
Candidate Jordan Fisher, who is also a sheriff”s deputy, didn’t call Dodge out by name, but said “There is a certain candidate that likes to throw a lot of slams toward the sheriff’s office. . . . I can’t go with working with that individual”.
In the past Dodge has been vocal in questioning the sheriff’s office ability to handle drug and alcohol crimes.
“The problems we have are the drug problems, the underage drinking problems, and the sheriff’s office not communicating with the local police department, ” said Dodge.
During the Sheriffs Forum on Tuesday night at the Four Seasons in Bowman, ND one the first questions from the public was how the candidates propose to address the drug problem in the county.
“We do have a drug problem here, and I would like to look into a K-9 program, ” said Frank Eberle Bowman County Sheriff’s Deputy.
Eberle has the most experience of all the candidates for sheriff with 15 years and eight of them in Bowman.
Fisher and Langhoff agree that a K-9 unit would be a good idea going forward.
Fisher is a fifth generation Bowman native with five years of law enforcement experience, and said he would also like to bring body cams and better drug training for officers in the department.
He also said there are many grants the department could tap into to get funding, with the sheriff’s office having a limited budget that can only afford three fulltime deputies.
Langhoff, who has seven years of law enforcement experience, said if elected he would also like to bring a school resource officer and D.A.R.E program to the schools.
Dodge said he thinks a K-9 unit is a good idea, but it is unrealistic.
“We don’t have the money in the county to be able to afford it . . . grants would only be good for the first year.”
He also thinks the sheriff’s department has to do better job of patrolling the smaller municipalities in the county.
If elected he would like to have an officer stationed and living in Rhame and Scranton.
“The three deputies we have on duty right now have homes in Bowman. We just can’t tell them to sell their house and move to Scranton or Rhame, ” said Langhoff.
Dodge said Langhoff”s comment didn’t concern him, since some the deputies said they wouldn’t work for him if he was elected.
He said any new deputies he would hire would be told that living in Rhame or Scranton would be a condition of their employment if the department didn’t have an officer living at one of them.
Fisher and Eberle said they think “Zone” patrolling would be a good way to police the county, with a zones setup for Bowman, Scranton, and Rhame
Langhoff said he thinks the officers on shift should be allowed to use their best judgment and police the areas that they know have the highest level of traffic during certain times of the day.
About a hundred people attended the Sheriffs Forum that was sponsored by the Bowman County Farm Bureau, and the county will see what the voters think on June 12.
Former Bowman County Sheriff Rory Teigen resigned last Summer, and he is currently Chief Deputy Sheriff in Slope County where he is running for Sheriff.
Dick Fredrick has been the Sheriff in Bowman County since Teigen left.