Posted 1/27/10 (Wed)
By Tina Foreman
Farmer Staff Writer
After 33 years on the job, Police Chief Daryl Vance decided it was time to retire, giving the Watford City City Council the tough job of hiring a new Chief of Police.
“We had five great applicants for the chief position,” says Kent Pelton, Watford City mayor. “The applicants were all really good and we are excited that we had such a good pool to choose from.”
The applicant chosen for the job was Slade Herfindahl, formerly a lieutenant with the Grafton Police Department.
“I wasn’t seeking new employment when I heard about this position,” says Herfindahl. “I’m originally from Tioga and I love western North Dakota and I’ve always wanted to get back to this part of the state. So when I heard that a position, that hadn’t been available in 33 years was open, I decided I needed to apply.”
Herfindahl began his law enforcement career in 1997 as a jailer in Williams County. He decided that he wanted to do more in law enforcement and went on to the Law Enforcement Academy in 2002. He worked as an officer in New Town until 2005 when he left for his former position in Grafton.
“I got into law enforcement because I like working with and helping people,” adds Herfindahl. “When you do your job right and catch a drug dealer or abuser, it gives you a great satisfaction. Nothing feels better then putting that person behind bars. That’s why I enjoy my job.”
Herfindahl feels that his years of working in criminal investigation, while employed in Grafton, will be a big asset to his position as Watford City’s Chief of Police.
“I think I have a lot to offer the community,” comments Herfindahl. “Between my past training and work experience, I feel that I am well equipped to handle this position. I am a little concerned that I haven’t had a lot of administrative experience because even though I supervised seven to nine officers in Grafton, I always had the chief above me.”
Although he expects a transition, Herfindahl isn’t worried about stepping into a new community because he’s had the privilege of working with some of his team.
“In the past, I worked with Sheriff Rankin and Deputy Fulwider and I have a lot of respect for both of them,” adds Herfindahl. “I know Watford City’s Police Department and Sheriff’s Department work together, so knowing those two will be a big help in the transition. I have also worked with Troy White Owl in the past.”
The Watford City Police Department is made up of Herfindahl and officers Troy White Owl, Dustin Newman, Randy Chaplin and as of Feb. 1, Scott Luhman.
Herfindahl says that with any transition, especially one that is 33 years in the making, he knows there will be hurdles, but he’s confident there won’t be any that he can’t cross.
The first hurdle is one that many new people to the community are working on - housing. Fortunately, Herfindahl was offered temporary residence in a friend’s basement while he looks for permanent housing. But it’s still a hurdle that he hopes to cross soon.
“My wife, Mary, and two-year-old son, Sawyer, are staying with my parents in Tioga,” states Herfindahl. “I’m hoping to find a permanent place soon so that we can all be together and my wife can start looking for a job.”
Once he’s settled into the new position, Herfindahl is looking forward to spending his spare time hunting, fishing and being with family and friends. But until then, he is content getting to know his officers and the community.
“I want the community to know that I am here for them,” adds Herfindahl. “If you see or hear about any illegal activity, I hope you will contact me. I will keep everything confidential so I hope people will not hesitate to call and talk to me if they have any concerns.”
There will be a cake and coffee reception to honor Daryl Vance at the Watford City Civic Center, Heritage Room, on Jan. 28 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.