Mandan Police Department is fully staffed

MANDAN, N.D. - The Mandan Police Department says offering better benefits has helped them retain more officers.

During the summer, commissioners approved fully paid family health insurance for the P.D.

In December of 2017, the department told us they were in a critical situation with seven officers short.

Since then they've brought their number up to 37, that's the most they've seen in a while.

The chief says he's happy because not only are they retaining but also they've seen an increase in applicants.

A fully staffed department brings a sigh of relief for officers in Mandan.

"There were times when there were three, four officers going to fifty calls for service and it was just call to call and report after report after report, but we got through it we're getting fully staffed and better things are coming," said Mandan police officer Leo Belgarde.

With better benefits comes a flow of more applicants.

Mandan Police Chief Jason Ziegler said, "We're starting to see a trend where people who have left to other agencies are now looking at us saying, 'geez, I want to come back home and work for Mandan.'"

One officer came back after nearly eight years.

"I never didn't want to be in law enforcement, but a person has to take that into account thinking about their family and what they can afford," said Mandan police officer Beth Kohler.

She says the health benefits was her reason to come back because she'll be able to support her family.

Something other officers agree with.

Ziegler says the quality of applicants coming in is tenfold.

They say having a fully staffed department helps them serve the community better.

Kohler says this will help the PD be more proactive instead of reactive.