Written by Devon Boen
A public complaint was the focal point of the Roosevelt County Commissioners’ meeting on Friday, Sept. 21, and sparked political and legal allegations against both the county commissioners and the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office.
Mike Bowman, a local resident, attended to make the board aware of an alleged event that occurred Friday, Sept. 14, at Four Lanes Park, officially called Nellie’s Park on U.S. Hwy. 2.
Bowman said two of his sons and one of their friends had been out socializing and listening to music prior to 10 p.m., the closing time for the area. Bowman said Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Deputy Wade Creighton and a Fort Peck Department of Law and Justice officer arrived and their conduct was aggressive and inappropriate.
Bowman claimed that Creighton kicked the door of his sons’ friend’s vehicle closed with his foot and the officers proceeded to search the pickup and throw trash out of the bed onto the ground. He also said the police wanted the three boys to perform a breathalyzer test without probable cause.
Bowman went on to question the integrity of several other county employees, including the sheriff.
“It’s out of control to have people in leadership you can’t call on,” Bowman said. “Wolf Point is a nice place to live. I like my town, I like my community, I like the people here, but I don’t like what I see within our law enforcement agencies.”
The commissioners granted Bowman the floor, but couldn’t provide resolution to his frustration.
Presiding commissioner Gary Macdonald did not participate in the meeting during Bowman’s complaint since Creighton is running against him for county commissioner this fall and he felt it was appropriate to remain neutral on the subject.
He spoke up after Bowman had finished talking and explained how the deputy’s behavior is not under their control.
“I think you need to understand what little control we have over other elected officials,” Macdonald said. “There isn’t anything we can do.”
The elected official Macdonald was referring to was Roosevelt County Sheriff Freedom Crawford, who ultimately has control over Roosevelt County deputies and would be more influential in affecting their actions than the board of commissioners.
Creighton wasn’t present at the meeting, but heard about the complaint after the fact. He said no formal complaint had been addressed to his supervisor about the incident and dispatch records would clearly prove the incident occurred after 10 p.m.
He also said he was disappointed that the commissioners allowed Bowman to speak for such a long time, stating there was a two-minute rule when it came to public comments.
He said he felt Bowman attacked his character, integrity and professionalism and thought the commissioners should have exercised more leadership and called him ‘out of order.’
Creighton said he hoped Macdonald wasn’t using Bowman’s public comments as a way to attack a political opponent.
Macdonald said the complaint was not anything sponsored by him and he said he chose not to participate in that part of the meeting.
Macdonald also said he wished Bowman had not spoken as long as he had, but explained the two-minute public comment rule was dismissed by MACO legal department years ago, contrary to what Creighton said.
Macdonald said he believed his only mistake at the meeting was not leaving the room while Bowman had the floor.
The board said they would look into Bowman’s allegations and moved on to other issues.
The commissioners unanimously approved a purchase request from the Sheriff’s office for a 2012 Chevy Tahoe. The agreement said High Plains Motors
will give $8,500 for 2009 Pontiac Torrent trade-in bringing the total price to $25,805.
The board also approved hiring Sharon Karge and Sam Shumway as temporary maintenance employees who would work on the completion of the dispatch office remodel.
The board approved a pay raise for Carol Rasmussen and agreed to once again table a maintenance agreement with Cerium Network for the new phone system for the county.