This past week would have been my uncle Arnie’s birthday. He passed away from cancer earlier this spring. Thinking about him makes me also think about my Grandfather. There is a theme that sort of runs through my family. That theme is law enforcement.
My Grandfather, Ed Wingenbach, spent many, many years in law enforcement. He started with the Mandan PD, and then later ran for Sheriff of Morton County. He served until 1975 when he failed to get re-elected. At the time he was the longest continual serving Sheriff Morton County had ever had. His twelve years as Sheriff were twice what anyone else had served since the county was founded in 1878, though Charles McDonald had more total years served (16) and Phil Helbling had as many split up over several instances. I believe the man who beat him that year, Leo Snider, then served until 2002.
His son, my uncle, Arnie Wingenbach, went through one of the earliest classes at the Law Enforcement Training Academy. Established in 1970, I believe he went through in about 1972 or 1973. He served for a short time out in Bowman, ND.
I started dispatching in 1998 for NDSU Campus Police before moving over to the West Fargo PD. My fifteen minutes of fame was when I had a young lady call one night asking where she could buy marijuana. After spending some time speaking to her and explaining several times that what she wanted to do was illegal she agreed to come down to the police department to buy the marijuana.
My father in law, Luis Coca, spent many years in law enforcement before finally retiring a few years ago. He spent time as Chief of Police in two different little towns in ND, Burlington and Rugby.
His son, my brother in law, also named Luis Coca, has continued the tradition and is now a sergeant with the Surrey PD.
Morton County Sheriff’s history (some dates are approximate because I couldn’t find a handy listing for them)
03/1878-02/1879 Allen W. Clark
03/1881-01/1883 W.A. Carr
01/1883-01/1889 George Harmon
01/1889-01/1895 George Bingenheimer
01/1895-01/1899 Charles McDonald
01/1899-01/1903 John C. Weekes
01/1903-01/1907 Charles Mcdonald
01-1907-01/1909 Henry Bechtold
01/1909-01/1913 Oscar Olson
01/1913-01/1917 Charles McDonald
01/1917-01/1921 Oscar Olson
01/1921-10/1922 Jack F. Brady
10/1922-01/1927 Charles McDonald
01/1927-01/1931 Henry Handtman
01/1931-01/1933 John Handtman, Jr.
01/1933-01/1937 Troy Gray
01/1937-01/1941 E.O. Lidstrom
01/1941-01/1945 Phil Helbling
01/1945-01/1949 E.O. Lidstrom
01/1949-01/1953 Phil Helbling
01/1953-01/1957 Kermit Ellisen
01/1957-01/1961 Phil Helbling
01/1961-01/1963 Kermit Ellisen
01/1963-01/1975 Ed Wingenbach
01/1975-~01/2002 Leo Snider
01/2002-~01/2006 Bob Erhardt
01/2006-01/2015 Dave Shipman
2015-Present Kyle Kirchmeier