After more than 40 years, one city in North Dakota will now have a police presence in city limits.
Mayor Stu Merry said that’s the reason they are now getting their own police chief.
“With the county, it was kind of a one size fits all. The county sheriffs department covers the county, but with having our own police department we can now tailor that to Garrison residents,” said Merry.
Since the late 1960s, Garrison hasn’t had a police department of its own and has contracted out the McLean County Sheriffs Department to cover the city.
With the $161,000 available, he said the change won’t cost taxpayers.
“Your tax dollars will now be spent locally in Garrison,” said Merry.
With the current contract over on Jan. 1, he said they will still work hand-in-hand with the sheriff’s department.
“We’re working out a contract to work with the county, to house prisoners and also for dispatch,” he said.
One police officer will be hired for now, but some don’t think it will be enough.
“If it’s a big job or if something big happens, to only have one person to back it up is not going to be very good I don’t think,” said Wendy Koelzer, resident of Garrison.
“Just keep it how it is. They work 24/7. They go out and do their jobs, and you can’t put a price on what these guys go out and do,” said Charles Wilkinson, Game Warden.
The mayor said he’s seen response times up to 20 minutes, and one local business owner said that alone says it all.
“It’s probably a better idea having a local resident sheriff or cops in the city rather than depending on the county because McLean county is such a big county, they don’t have enough manpower,” said Cindy Fennewald, a business owner.
Mayor Merry said change is always uncomfortable, but as city officials, they think it’s the best decision for Garrison.
Applications are now being accepted for the position, and they still want people to know that they will still be served by the county, but they will have less of a presence in the area.