Posted 1/23/13 (Wed)
By Neal A. Shipman
There has been a changing of the guard at the Watford City Police Department following the surprise resignation of Slade Herfindahl as the chief of police and the appointment of Jesse Wellen as the city’s new police chief.
“Slade resigned from his duties as chief of police effective Feb. 1,” stated Brent Sanford, Watford City mayor.
According to Sanford, Herfindahl cited personal reasons and that it was time for him to move on in his resignation.
“Slade is definitely going to be missed,” stated Sanford. “Over the three years that he was here, he built our police force into a highly trained department and tripled the number of officers on duty. He was the right man at the right time to lead our police force, especially with the escalating growth in crime that we have seen in the city.”
But Sanford also believes that Wellen, who joined the Watford City Police Dept. in June of 2011 and was currently serving as the department’s sergeant, is the best fit as the city’s new police chief to replace Herfindahl.
“Jesse is really stressing teamwork and collaboration within the department as well as the need for continued cooperation with the sheriff’s department, the fire department, as well as other area law enforcement agencies,” stated Sanford.
According to Wellen, he is excited about the opportunity that he has been presented and acknowledges Herfindahl’s efforts.
“It’s really going to be a great opportunity for me personally,” stated Wellen. “I enjoyed working with Slade and he is definitely going to be a hard act to follow.”
According to Wellen, one of the first things that he hopes to accomplish as the new police chief is to bring some more structure to the department.
“Pending approval from the city council, I would like to promote two of our officers to sergeant level and create one detective position,” stated Wellen. “In addition, we are in the process of hiring two new officers.”
Wellen assumed the duties of Watford City Police Chief on Friday, Jan. 11.