Posted on

Wolf Point City Council Hires Police Chief

Alcohol Ban Proposed, Sullivan To Depart

The Wolf Point City Council held their regular meeting Monday, June 20. Sergeant Alisha Morales was selected for hire as the new Wolf Point Police Chief, pending the inclusion of a nepotism clause in her contract. Morales will be subject to a six-month trial period.

Tribal Executive Board members Lawrence Hamilton and Bryce Kirk said the Fort Peck Tribes Jail would be closing in coming months, following a visit from Bureau of Indian Affairs. Hamilton said inmates would be transferred to old jail. Renovations are needed, he said, because inmates “destroyed” the new facility. No firm date has been set for the move.

The TEB report also included discussion of cross-deputization issues with non-certified members of the Wolf Point Police Department and other area law enforcement. Hamilton said the TEB is waiting to make changes and approve agreements as early as this week but have not received finalized agreement language about insurance or necessary scheduling and contact information from the city. Mayor Chris Dschaak said he would send the information first thing in the morning.

Hamilton also said the high number of deaths along the railroad tracks in Wolf Point is alarming to the TEB. They discussed the possibility of contributing to fencing and other options to address the problem. Council member Dean Malhum said that an officer with BNSF police reached out to the council and wants to visit the area in August to visit with the council, area law enforcement and stakeholders regarding the loss of life.

Public works director Ward Smith said repairs to the roof would not begin before the end of July due to staffing issues with contractor Thiel Brothers. Smith also said that some smoothing out of the north end of the cemetery has been completed. He said there should be enough room for approximately 800 grave sites.

Clerk Jhona Peterson said a letter has been sent to the family of John Douglas regarding the monument in park. She said there has been no response.

Dschaak said Borge Park has been closed for construction projects.

Fire Department elections were held June 7. Clint Bushman was elected chief. John T Szymanski will be assistant chief. Justin Parker will be treasurer. Wayne Kegley and David Schultes will be captains. Jarod Weyrauch will be safety officer and Dorrance Clark will be training officer.

During police and animal committee reports, Dschaak said Memorial Day weekend saw 106 calls for service. “It’s been very, very busy.” He described law enforcement challenges locally as, “an uphill battle.”

Council member Lance FourStar spoke to the need for better communication between law enforcement agencies and emergency services and discussed the impacts of alcoholism and addiction in the area and the dangers those impacts present for area residents. He also spoke about recent deaths near the train tracks in Wolf Point before returning to the topic of alcoholism. “My people have been suffering from this disease for over 200 years,” said FourStar. “We need to protect our people.” Mahlum gave an update to the council from the streets and alleys committee regarding a name change for Custer Street. He said address changes could impact voter eligibility for certain individuals on election day if they choose to vote in person. He also said the 911 address system will need to be updated, along with city maps. FourStar said he remains adamantly in favor of the name change and thanked city employees for research they have conducted. City attorney Anna Rose Sullivan said a draft resolution on the name change will be ready by the next council meeting.

An ordinance was proposed banning the sale of certain types of alcohol within city limits. “The ordinance is far from perfect,” said Dschaak via social media June 21. “Honestly, I have mixed emotions even presenting it. I don’t know if it’ll help or hinder law enforcement, the court system or even the public at large. But action is long overdue. Public input and opinions are long overdue. [...] Taking a blind eye to the problems we are facing is no longer an option. Action is what is required and it’s required from everyone. [...] This proposal will have support and it will also have push back. We are ready to listen and discuss any and all ideas to fix this ever increasing problem.”

The full text of the ordinance can be read on Dschaak’s Facebook page.

Greg Lukasik with Great West Engineering said there was only one bid for wastewater system improvements but recommended moving forward as the project will be 100 percent grant funded. “We have to do something,” said Dschaak. “We have pledged to do something. We are going to do something.”

A motion was passed to accept the bid in the amount of $3.6 million.

The urban renewal committee provided a report. Dschaak shared bids for renewal project work, courtesy Great Northern Development Corporation. A motion was passed recommending Olympus Contracting in the amount of $122,622.78.

A motion was passed to promote Jarod Weyrauch to $20 per hour in the maintenance worker III position effective June 16. Wolf Point Animal Control officer Joe Reinhart has submitted his resignation.

Sullivan announced the termination of her contract with the city pending a move to Billings. The council approved her dates of departure. She will be assisting with the hire of her replacement and other loose ends. Her last day with the city will be August 31.

Sullivan told the Northern Plains Independent that her experience working with the city has been a blessing, “Working for the City of Wolf point all these years has been a true blessing,” she said. “If I were staying in this area I wouldn’t hesitate to continue. Unfortunately, I would like to continue my private practice in Billings and due to the distance I think it’s in the city’s best interest to find someone local to represent them moving forward.”

A resolution was passed supporting the healing of Indian boarding schools, pending small edits to the text incorporating Wolf Point as a signatory.

Minutes were passed for the April 18 meeting. The council passed revenue and expense and treasurer’s cash reports. The next council meeting is set for July 18 at 7 p.m.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *