Law enforcement officers' spouses speak out about DAPL protest response

Published: Mar. 22, 2017 at 12:14 PM CDT
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For months, law enforcement officers had to stand their ground to keep the peace during the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. Now, several of their spouses are talking about the protest from their vantage point.

Emotions ran high at the start of the Dakota Access Pipeline protest, and much of it was directed at law enforcement.

And it went on for months. Officers' families may not have been at the frontlines, but they could feel the tension as well.

"Pack the kids up and get out and try not to make them worry while we were getting to a safer place," said Allison Engelstad, spouse of a Morton County Sheriff's deputy.

Engelstad says it was unsettling when her husband asked her to temporarily stay with her parents during the protest. And, they weren't the only ones.

"My husband is very good about being open and honest with them and trying to make them stay calm in the moments. But, realize that emotions take stronghold sometimes and a boiling pot of people with different convictions can sometimes make you have to see the world at a younger age," said Carla Arndt, spouse of a North Dakota Highway Patrol sergeant.

Arndt says a social media post threatened her husband and children. This happened to other officers working at protests and the negativity directed at them was difficult to deal with.

"I've never seen any of our law enforcement do a tenth of the things they were being accused of and that was kind of hard to read," said Shannon Eagon, spouse of a National Guard sergeant.

The women say their experiences represented the feelings of hundreds of other officers and their families impacted by the protest.

One woman says she and her husband got married right before the protests began.