Q & A with Pat J. Merriman Assitant States Attorney for Dunn County

Q- “Your newsletters are so informative and interesting. Thank you so much.”


A- I mean this sincerely, “Thank you!” The vast majority of emails from you readers has been overwhelmingly in support of what we tried to do with this newsletter–inform the public about what is going on in Dunn County when it comes to the oil patch, crime and law enforcement issues. Frankly, when I got hired by Ross in the Fall of 2012, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I thought I was moving to Mayberry RFD where it was nice and quiet and I could watch my daughter Samantha, her new husband Stephen Kershisnik and any grandchildren they produced grow up far away from the Midwest’s drug and crime problems. Well, I got snookered (Southern term–Yankees put one over on me) on that one! Sam and Stephen’s new son the “Jack” (John Fredrick Kershisnik) just got here, my wife Selena is CEO of her state-of-the-art child care facility (her life-long dream) and, I’m on the cusp of a general election for States Attorney with 2,008 square miles to serve. WOW! How did that happen?

SO, when I got here, local conventional wisdom was: (1) no one cares about crime statistics, it will only freak them out; (2) North Dakota juries do not care about DUI’s period; and (3) crappy, crowded, dangerous driving is just a fact of life out here on the highways and, we just have to tolerate it. Well, gee, I’ve never let anyone tell me what the terrain is or, what the proper tactics are for winning a battle. Here…the safety of my family and yours. And, 10 months after implementing Zero Tolerance, guess what the truth was…not the fiction? The most popular feature in this newsletter and the new, improved Dunn County Herald are the weekly crime statistics. In fact, the only people who have complained about the reporting are those whose names have appeared in the feature. I guess my response would be…don’t commit a crime, and, that won’t happen. Am I missing something?

Next, Dunn County juries will convict you of a DUI in +/- 30 minutes if you were drinking and driving. So much for fantasy. Finally, local citizens are reporting that even though there are still knuckleheads driving on the highways, it seems to be getting better. I can only speak from anecdotal evidence, but, I still see stupid passing or stop sign violations just not every single time I drive to Dickinson. Regardless, we are having less traffic trials and, just last month, a Mercer County Deputy reported to one of our deputies that he had stopped a drunk driver, who also had some “weed” in the vehicle, and one of the first questions out of his mouth was, “This ain’t Dunn County is it?” I can only hope that is true! In my old stomping grounds, our county was often found, in miscreant’s vehicles, outlined in red as a warning to stay out of Greene County with drugs. It has been said since the time of the great Roman General Marcus Aurelius, circa 150 AD, and most recently coined by author Charles Caleb Colton in 1820, “Imitation is the sincerest flattery.” One can only hope that is true up here and, we can get this criminal worm to turn!

Thanks for your questions!

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One thought on “Q & A with Pat J. Merriman Assitant States Attorney for Dunn County

  1. Really enjoy your column Pat. As long time residents (now x-residents) of Dunn
    County we find these newspaper articles very informative. Keep up the great work.

    George and Polly Tabor

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