The race for Burleigh County’s Sheriff

It’s nearly one week away from the June 12th primaries. Tonight, we’re looking at the race for Burleigh County’s next Sheriff. Shelby Rose introduces us to the candidates. 

This is Nolan Canright, former Bismarck Police Officer and current private investigator. He wants to become the next Burleigh County Sheriff.

“I want to bring a fresh perspective to it, a change in leadership, new ideas. Crime is always evolving, and we have to evolve with it. We’d rather be proactive and get ahead of it rather than reactive and try to catch up to it,” said Canright. 

On the other side, his opponent Kelly Leben say’s he has the experience over his challenger. He has been with the Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department for over 20 years now, serving directly under Sheriff Pat Heinert for the last 8 years. 

Leben said, “I’ve got a great understanding of the sheriff’s department. I know what it takes to be successful for our department to get out there and protect the citizens. And so, on day one, January 1st, it’s not going to be a big learning curve.”

Experience aside, there is one issue that has dominated this race, the county’s drug problem. Especially when it relates to the scandal surrounding former Burleigh County Deputy Kerry Komrosky who faces multiple drug charges and theft from the Metro Area Narcotics Task Force. 

Canright added, “You need strong leadership in a drug task force unit because those people are always running undercover investigation where not many people know what they’re doing. So, you need strong leadership and there needs to be accountability from the top down.”

However, Leben doesn’t think it will hurt his poll numbers next week. He says whenever the issue is brought up, it’s mostly positive. 

“What I’m hearing when we’re out in the community is everybody has been very supportive of our agency for how we handled it, how quick we got to the public with it. So, I think ultimately, that’s going to be up to the voters to look at,” said Leben.

And no matter the turnout after the primaries, both will be on the November ballot.

Others electing a new sheriff include Ward and Williams counties. 

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