After several months of searching, the Killdeer City Council has found their new Police Chief, 38-year-old, Eric Braathen.
By Pat J. Merriman
For the Herald
On August 1, 2014, Braathen replaced long-time Chief Chris Fenstermaker who resigned, after leading his department for 5 years, on June 12, 2014, to accept a higher-paying job in Western North Dakota’s oilfields. Braathen’s first challenge at his new posting is filling the 2 vacant patrol slots in this 4-man department, which has been shorthanded since mid-June. The new chief stated that one conditional position has been offered to a recent applicant who is awaiting a background check but applications are still being accepted for the other patrol position. Braathen instructs that interested applicants must be at least 18-years-of-age and already possess their North Dakota POST, 16-week basic course certifications. For information on how to obtain your POST license, go to their New Killdeer Police Chief on Dutywebsite: www.post.nd.gov/FAQ/index.html. The KPD’s telephone number is (701) 764-5678 if you are interested in applying for a job.
Chief Braathen brings the following skill set to his new job: 5 years experience (2009-2014) with the Nelson County, ND, Sheriff’s Dept. as a patrol deputy and Chief civil process officer, Sergeant & Field Training Officer (training and supervising 3 fulltime deputies and 5 part time reserve deputies), Chief of Police in Hatton, ND (2003-05), Patrol Officer in Devils Lake, ND (2002-03), and a 95% case closure rate since 2007. Braathen has also received extensive specialized training over the last 12 years in law enforcement. His goals for his new department include preparing for the overwhelming traffic issues in Killdeer, particularly, with an early winter threatening to invade the region, updating existing department policies, modifying the existing phone system, setting-up a new evidence/property room, setting a new schedule for patrol (4, 12-hour shifts on, 4 days off), and working with city officials in locating a larger space for his department which has long outgrown their existing facilities as the city has grown.
Just married on August 23rd, the new Chief is also awaiting the arrival of his new wife Hannah and her 6-year-old daughter Dara as the Draathen family gets ready for elementary school and finding a new job for Hannah in the area. In the immediate future, the public is advised that if you call the KPD at their telephone number, it will still be answered by the on-duty officer. If that officer is at home for mandatory rest, the call will roll to answering machine mode with a direction to the caller (in the same manner as the Dunn County Sheriff’s system) notifying the caller to dial 9-1-1 (for State Radio) if it is an emergency or they need immediate assistance.
Chief Braathen looks forward to living and working in his new community with his young family, “Nice town and good community, the people seem very friendly.” He noted dryly, “A lot of traffic.” A whirlwind romance with Killdeer since August 1st, including his recent marriage to his new wife Hannah, Braathen (1 of only 2 current officers with patrolman Scott Wilson in the city) notes, “I haven’t had a lot of time yet to meet people but, the ones I have met are wonderful.” I personally wish him luck in his new position and the growing calls for service from the Killdeer area. With the traffic, Zero Tolerance DUI/Drugs and, if recent weather is any indication, a tough winter looming on his first watch, the new Chief will be busy over the next few months!