WATFORD CITY, N.D. - Monday, the McKenzie County Commission selected an interim sheriff.
Last week, Governor Jack Dalrymple placed Gary Schwartzenberger on leave pending a hearing for his removal. In the meantime, Matthew Johansen will serve as sheriff of the county. Johansen has been in the McKenzie County Sheriff's Department for the last 10 years. He was surprised to get the call, but the commission believes he is what the county needs right now.
"Little bit of a surprise. I've heard people talking about who it's going to be and who they think it should be, and I didn't know my name was in the runnings until I got a phone call from the chairman of the county commission the day after Thanksgiving," says Johansen.
"I think it's what we need to try to get everybody back together. We've got to get reunited. We want to do it that way. We were looking for someone who would have that kind of rapport with everyone, and I think we made a good decision," says Richard Cayko, McKenzie Co. Commission Chairman.
If Schwartzenberger is removed, Johansen will take over the position full-time.