Posted 7/19/16 (Tue)
By Jack Dura
Farmer Staff Writer
Despite some national scrutiny and condemnation of law enforcement, Watford City residents strongly support their local authorities.
Following a sniper murdering five Dallas police officers and injuring several more after the deaths of two men at the hands of police in Louisiana and Minnesota, Watford City locals rallied Sunday, July 10, in support of local law enforcement.
Youngsters at Emerald Ridge Apartments also set up a lemonade stand on Wednesday, July 13, to “back the blue,” with a picture of the kids’ stand making the rounds on social media last week.
“It’s nice to see people in the community coming out and supporting us,” Watford City Police Chief Art Walgren said, adding community support of law enforcement is strong in this “fantastic community.”
“I would say we have a very good relationship with this community,” Walgren said, pointing to “an extremely high” approval rating of 84 percent by the community last year, a rating higher than other parts of the state, he added.
Watford City Police also participate in many community events, Walgren said, and welcome residents reaching out with questions or concerns.
“We welcome anybody to come in and talk with us, tell us their concerns, ask questions,” Walgren said.
Some areas do require improvement, however, Walgren added, as police “strive to be the best we can be.”
Will Maguire, a Watford City Police Foundation volunteer, initiated the rally on social media. He said he hopes further support of law enforcement springs from the small rally, which drew rotating participants for about four hours downtown.
“It seems that people are getting inspired here,” Maguire said, highlighting the Emerald Ridge kids selling lemonade last week. “I think we got a good start and I think we’re going to continue pushing that.”
One visible sign of support, he added, is the growing number of “Back the Blue” signs made from wooden pallets by Eric Homer. Homer said he had made about 30 of the signs by the day of the rally.
Maguire said some interest from rally attendees will bring other events this summer.
“Hopefully we can continue,” Maguire said.
The police foundation is hosting Coffee with a Cop from 7 to 9 a.m. Wednesday, July 27, at Wake Up Watford at 1300 Fourth Ave. NE.
A fishing event at Watford City’s Nature Pond is also tentative for the near future, Maguire added.