Watford City Police Department Is There For The Community, Because Of The Community

The Watford City Police Department is comprised of 23 certified law enforcement officers and six non-sworn personnel who serve their community both on and off duty.

"Our priority is community involvement whether it is our community BBQ, National Night Out, the first weekend in August, our car seat checks, and everything in between," said Jeffrey Jensen, Watford City Police Department public information officer who has been with the department nine of his ten years in law enforcement. "We take the community into consideration with every decision we make."

One new way the police department will be able to better serve Watford City and the surrounding area is with the recent purchase of a 2023 Polaris Ranger which will be utilized during medical calls that are inaccessible to ambulances, during search and rescue operations, during natural disasters such as snowstorms, and during community events where it is difficult to maneuver a patrol vehicle through crowds.

The need for a utility task vehicle (UTV) became painfully clear after the blizzard that hit the area in April 2022, at which time law enforcement was unable to get an individual to their home due to the amount of snow.

"Officers urged him to stay at a hotel room being provided free of charge, but he was insistent that he go home. Because he was of sound mind, we couldn't prevent him from leaving. Officers gave him a ride as close to his home as they could access and he was going to walk the rest of the way, but unfortunately, he didn't make it," Jensen sadly recounted. "This fatality and the major storm events showcased the need for our agency to get a UTV."

City council tasked law enforcement to fundraise for the vehicle, and in less than nine months they raised over $82,000. The Watford City Police Department is still taking donations to outfit the UTV with necessary search and rescue equipment.

"We were more successful than we ever imagined we would be with fundraising and this is a great addition to the fleet. We have to stay relevant with the times and be able quickly and safely respond to people who are having the worst day of their life," Jensen explained.

In addition to what law enforcement does on-the-job, many, including Jensen, are part of the Watford City Police Foundation which is composed of law enforcement officers from every agency. The organization was established in 2016 and took their own spin off 'Shop with a Cop' to create the Blue Santa program. Families in need all across McKenzie County receive $150 worth of necessities such as clothes, as well as something fun for Christmas. This program serves kids from newborns to high school seniors. The Watford City Police Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that is operated solely through fundraising and donations. Their mission is to give back to the youth of the community, which they have successfully done, donating $20,000-$30,000 each year to youth and youth programs. For instance, they donated $1,000 to the Watford City School district and $1,000 to Alexander for post-prom and post-graduation activities. They have donated to the non-profit organization "Running Free", which promotes addiction free living and running. This is the third year they have offered two $500 scholarships. These scholarships are for students interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement, nursing, EMS services, and firefighting.

"We have incredible support from the community and that's been a phenomenal thing. The Watford City Police Foundation is always looking for businesses and individuals who would like to donate, and the Watford City Police Department is recruiting," he added.

Anyone interested in donating to the Watford City Police Foundation can email them at [email protected]. To make donations to contribute to equipment for the UTV, please contact Officer Jensen at [email protected].


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