WILLISTON, N.D. - In a six-month time frame, about 125 years of police service in Williston and Williams County is retiring. Today, in part one of our Changing of the Guard special, we look at three veteran officers and what their post-law enforcement plans entail.
If you've stopped by Books on Broadway in Williston lately, you may have noticed a familiar face.
After 40 years in Law enforcement, retired Williston Police Capt. David Belisle is working at the local book shop.
"It's fun. I just enjoy it. I just work a few hours a week, nothing extraordinary, I don't want to be tied down. Kids live in Minneapolis, we get back there occasionally, I like to play some golf," said Belisle.
The adjustment from the rigorous law enforcement life to a more relaxed civilian life took some time.
"You wake up at 2-3 o'clock in the morning thinking you have to do this, that and the other thing, and the way I am I was always taking notes and going 'oh I need to do this, that," and then you appreciate the fact that you don't have to do those things anymore," said Belisle.
And Belisle isn't the only one going through that adjustment. After 45 years in law enforcement, retired Williston Police Chief James Lokken called it a career just last month.
"It's pretty good. A lot less stress than the job was. Kind of do things on your own speed: if you don't get it done today, you can get it done tomorrow," said Lokken.
Lokken began his career in Law Enforcement in Crosby before making his way down Highway 85 where he served as a patrolman, a detective, and as assistant chief before taking over the department's top spot.
"Try to stay involved in activities and different things in the community. We don't plan on going anywhere. My son's a sergeant with the highway patrol, he's living here in town. We like Williston, we don't plan on leaving Williston," said Lokken.
In just a few weeks Williams County Sheriff Scott Busching will be hanging up his guns and joining Belisle and Lokken as retirees.
Busching started his career in law enforcement in 1977 as a game warden. He then worked in Grenora and Ray before coming down to Williston. He has served as Sheriff since the late 90s. While he won't step down until July, the time has come for Busching to call it a career, as well.
"I still think it's the right decision. It's with a lot of trepidation because I've been in law enforcement for 40 years, this is all I've known. I've spent more time with my bookkeeper than my wife," said Busching.
When the time does come, he's confident he will be busy.
"I've got enough projects to keep me busy around the house for a year, some fishing, some bird hunting and next year I'll worry about making some money."
It's fitting that these three men with similar service all retire after spending most of their careers together.
"We all started during what we called the first boom. We all started together. So if we were going to stick it out and get promoted up where we weren't going to work nights and weekends and wrestling in the streets, we were going to ride this thing out," said Busching.
Through two booms, these three men helped guide law enforcement in the heart of the Bakken.
Tomorrow, we'll look at the men and women replacing Busching, Belisle and Lokken as sheriff, captain and chief.