Should the sheriff of Ward County be working while he awaits criminal trial?
The Ward County Commission thinks so.
Earlier this week, commissioners sent a letter to the Governor’s Office in hopes of getting Sheriff Steve Kukowski back to work.
Tim Olson has more.
(Tim Olson, KX News) Commissioner Larry Louser says Ward County has been without its sheriff for too long.
(Larry Louser, Chairman – Ward County Commission) “It’s been going on and on and on.”
(Olson) Sheriff Steve Kukowski was suspended with pay in June of 2016 as he waits to stand trial on three misdemeanor charges that stem from the death of Dustin Irwin, who died shortly after being transferred out of the Ward County Jail in the fall of 2014.
That trial was scheduled to take place this week – but was delayed. Now, Ward County Commissioners are asking that Kukowski’s suspension be rescinded.
(Louser) “Let the sheriff come back to work. It would put us back at full staff. It would save money. If we pay him, let’s have him working. We have that obligation to the taxpayers of Ward County.”
(Olson) Commissioners sent a letter to Governor Doug Burgum’s office on Wednesday to that end.
Louser says any decision to remove Kukowski from office should be held off until an outcome is reached in the misdemeanor trial.
(Louser) “When the trial comes up, whatever comes up there, any further action, if needed, can be taken then.”
(Olson) And in the mean time, he says Sheriff Kukowski has a job to do.
(Louser) “Law enforcement has been his life, with the P.D. and then with the Sheriff. Let’s get the man working.”
(Olson) In Minot, Tim Olson, KX News.
A spokesman from Governor Burgum’s office says the letter from the commission has not yet been received.
He expects the governor’s legal counsel to review it next week.