ROLLA, N.D. — Leaders in a northern North Dakota city are offering dozens of reasons for firing their police chief, including uncompleted paperwork, personal use of police vehicles and unapproved police purchases.
Rolla’s former police chief Joe Boehm was abruptly fired last month with little explanation during a City Council meeting on Oct. 18.
Mayor Scott Mitchell said the need for “a different direction” was the only rationale offered following the City Council’s 4-1 vote in favor of Boehm’s dismissal, according to the Bismarck Tribune.
On Nov. 6, a city attorney sent Boehm a letter outlining 47 incidents and concerns in his file that contributed to the dismissal. The letter cited incidents of misconduct, including using a police vehicle in a wedding ceremony and failing to report vacations, KFYR-TV reported.
Boehm is at least the fifth leader of a law enforcement agency in North Dakota to have resigned or been fired amid controversy this year. He currently serves as the chief deputy at the Rolette County Sheriff’s Office.
Boehm claimed he was fired because he announced plans to investigate Rolla Police Sgt. Chris Wright, who he said is a close acquaintance of the mayor. Boehm planned to investigate an $800 overage on Wright’s police cellphone.
“The mayor and Chris have had close connections for many years, so it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to put two and two together,” Boehm said.
Mayor Mitchell said the claim is inaccurate.
“I don’t think that’s true at all, because the city council brought up that phone bill, and there was no discussion, no questions,” Mitchell said. “Everyone on the council knew what had happened and approved payment without discussion, so that was done before he was asked to resign.”
Wright served as Boehm’s interim successor, but resigned effective Nov. 2 due to a scheduling issue with his oilfield job.
Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com