North Dakota Added to the National Police Association’s Thank a Cop Billboard Campaign

North Dakota Added to the National Police Association’s Thank a Cop Billboard Campaign


(Indianapolis) July 8, 2024. The National Police Association announced that North Dakota has been added to its national billboard campaign asking people to support the police by thanking a cop.

Recent legislative measures in North Dakota providing grants to attract law enforcement personnel are welcomed by communities, but challenges remain beyond one-off bonuses and additional advertising. Smaller communities face particular difficulties, especially with housing and other services.

The recent deaths of officers in Fargo and Beulah have highlighted the dangers of police work. Currently, at least 57 localities in North Dakota are seeking police officers, sheriff deputies, or other law enforcement staff, with some places like Bismarck advertising at least 10 open positions.

In the past there were more officers than openings. Now, there are many openings but few recruits.

House Bill 1307, signed by Gov. Doug Burgum in April, provides $3.5 million through 2025 for recruitment and retention bonuses and tuition for trainees, with at least $750,000 going to agencies with fewer than 10 officers.

Communities have acknowledged the grants’ helpfulness but stressed the need for police and sheriff departments to make themselves more desirable to attract candidates. This includes offering higher salaries, wellness programs, exercise programs, and other perks. Competitive salaries, benefits, and programs help keep officers happy and reduce burnout.

Smaller communities, however, struggle more than larger ones to provide attractive pay, benefits, and services like gyms and entertainment, with housing being a major issue. Garrison, for example, has difficulty attracting and retaining officers due to housing shortages, despite the community’s attractiveness to retirees and young families.

Carrington faces similar issues, with two officer openings and challenges retaining officers even with increased pay rates and bonuses. Housing availability remains a significant issue. The grant funding has helped, but it doesn’t cover the necessary wage increases, leading to burnout among the remaining officers.

In Harvey, maintaining a four-man department has been difficult due to funding challenges and the lack of excitement for lifestyle and police work. Housing availability is a major issue. The community has creatively addressed this by purchasing a duplex for police officers to rent at a reasonable price, improving their living conditions.

Overall, while the grant funding has been beneficial, long-term solutions are needed to address housing shortages, competitive salaries, and retention programs to ensure stable and effective law enforcement across North Dakota.