ND POST Board agrees that Burleigh sheriff-elect didn’t violate code of conduct

Published: Dec. 6, 2018 at 3:27 PM CST
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UPDATE: The North Dakota Peace Officer Standards and Training Board has cleared Burleigh County Sheriff- elect Kelly Leben of wrongdoing.

The board held a hearing this afternoon about an anonymously sent packet received earlier this year, making domestic assault allegations against Leben.

Leben said this summer he never meant to hurt a 14-year-old family member while they were horse playing.

The board voted almost unanimously agreeing that Leben didn't violate the code of conduct, bBut that decision came after nearly two hours of the board hearing from all sides of the situation. They heard from Leben and the teenager.

And they also heard from the teen's father who says, "he remembered it wrong," after the teen made his remarks.

"I don't like the fact that it's such a big issue today, when it wasn't four years ago. I think this is politically motivated," said Daniel Haugen, POST board member.

Some POST board members noted the difference in stories in comparison to the anonymous packet they got.

"I don't think he sent the anonymous packet. And again he said he did. I don't think there was an assault, I think it was just horseplay," said Haugen.

The only member who voted against the board says the system failed the teen somewhere in the last four years.

"In a confrontation that should've never have happened with a trained law enforcement officer, at the very minimum with his bad judgement, to allow this to get to where it got," said Tom Falck, POST board member.

Now that the board has made a decision on the situation, Leben says he looks forward to moving past this.

"I feel that the voters made a statement in the election and today when the POST board heard the whole story that they made a statement," said Leben.

He says this has been a tough situation since the beginning because it has always been a family matter.

Leben says this is an experience he doesn't wish on anyone but it has truly proven to him that you should always get both sides of a story before forming an opinion.

ORIGINAL STORY: The North Dakota Peace Officer Standards and Training Board on Thursday said Burleigh County Sheriff-elect Kelly Leben didn’t violate the code of conduct during a four-year-old domestic assault allegation.

A hearing was scheduled by the POST Board after an anonymous letter was sent saying Leben had put a then 14-year-old family member in a headlock at a family party four years ago. The letter claimed the teenager had suffered severe injuries.

The board voted almost unanimously for Leben, except for one person.

One member said he didn’t think the teenager sent the anonymous packet and thought the situation was politically motivated. He says the family asked for Leben to not get charged out. The board member says he doesn’t think it was an assault, he believe it was horseplay that got out of hand.