Full Staff at Killdeer Police Department

Chief Eric Braathen is pleased to announce that the Killdeer Police Dept. now has a full complement of 5 full time, and 2 reserve, officers.

Halverson Johnson Oakleaf Willis

Joining Chief Braathen, Sgt. Scott Wilson and Patrolmen Mackenzie Spack are recent hires Jacob Johnson and Ryan Halverson. Johnson, age 24, a native of Braham, Minnesota, is taking his first position as a peace officer after completing his Bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from the University of Minnesota, Morris. Patrolman Johnson is single, albeit, in a relationship with his girlfriend of 4 years, Alexis ,who manages a department store back in Minnesota but who is looking to relocate to Dunn County as soon as the young couple can manage that feat. “Jake”, as his friends call him, says, without hesitation “Killdeer is a beautiful area which is exactly like my hometown and, I like having a boss and City Commission who are easy to work with.”

Patrolman Ryan Halverson also hails from Minnesota, St. Cloud in fact, but, previously worked in McHenry County as a deputy sheriff and Stillwater, Minnesota as a corrections officer. Halverson is also single but dating a young lady (Greta) back in Stillwater, Minnesota, who, herself, is enjoying her visit out here this week helping Halverson get settled into his new digs. Halverson shares his new cohort Jake Johnson’s opinion of Killdeer, “There’s a great sense of community here. I really like how the whole town supported the Cowboys in their run for the state championship.” Halverson continues, “I look forward to working with Chief Braathen and the rest of the department and I can’t wait to get started.”

Joining Johnson and Halverson as new hires are reserve officers Valerie (Val) Oakleaf and Terrance Willis. Oakleaf, a familiar face to local residents, has lived here with her husband Mike for 2 . years and already serves as an EMT (soon to be paramedic) with Killdeer Ambulance; but, starting this past June, expressed an interest in assisting Chief Braathen as a reserve officer. A former Sand Hills, Nebraska “farm girl”, who, herself, holds a Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, Oakleaf also marks Killdeer as her new hometown, “it reminds me of where I grew up. Mike and I love it here. It started out as a 2 week trip for my husband to check out the job situation in the oilfield and, we stayed.” Rounding out Killdeer’s finest is 48-year-old reserve officer Terrance Willis who has lived in Dickinson, North Dakota for the last 3 years. Willis parrots his new cohorts, “I like this town and it’s police force. I look forward to my new duties.”

In North Dakota, reserve police officers are governed by Chapter 12-63 of the North Dakota Century Code and, may be part-time officers employed by local agencies, on an unpaid basis, to “enforce the law and to conduct or engage in investigations of violations of the law for no more than an average of twenty hours per week, not including time spent on call when no call to active duty is received, calculated on an annual basis”. Chief Braathen says his 2 new reserves (he would like to have at least 2 more) are unpaid volunteers, who work under the direct supervision of his licensed peace officer(s) and, have all of the same powers except the general power to arrest. Braathen says, “They will help provide necessary backup for my regular patrolman and will assist with traffic, crowd control at community events and parades, search and rescue and other necessary services.” One other option being considered is their use as local security agents at private events but, that is all in the future for right now.

The Century Code provides that all full-time or part-time North Dakota peace officers be licensed by the POST Commission, mandated under Section 12-63-02. Reserve officers and auxiliary officers are exempted from those provisions by Section 12-63-03 of the Code which provides that “auxiliary personnel” (members of organized groups for purposes such as

posse, search and rescue, and security at dances who operate as an adjunct to the police or sheriff’s department, and do not have arrest powers or peace officer authority delegated to them) and “reserve officers” (unpaid individuals used by a municipal, county, or state law enforcement agency to provide services to that jurisdiction) may work these duties so long as they are supervised by a licensed peace officer.

So, the statute allows the Killdeer PD, or Sheriff Coker, to appoint these reserves or auxiliaries to assist them in providing critical services. The statute also requires such “reserve” officers to possess a “valid North Dakota concealed weapons license” to carry a duty weapon or concealed weapon when off duty. The attraction for small departments, besides salary savings, are also the cost savings of training under Article 109-02 of the North Dakota Administrative Code and helps augment sparse police presence. For anyone interested in these programs, contact Chief Braathen or Sheriff Coker for more information.

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