Ronan looks to hire new police chief


Ronan looks to hire new police chief

KALISPELL, Mont. - The Ronan Police Department is searching for a new chief of police after going through several chiefs within the last year.

In 2013, former chief Dan Wadsworth was stripped of his law enforcement certifications

Wadsworth was accused of falsifying documents for his own son's admission into the Montana Law Enforcement Academy in 2011.

Since Wadsworth's release, others have taken over as chief, including Mayor Kim Aipperspach who was designated as the acting police chief as the fourth chief of police in Ronan in the last 10 months.

Now the city is searching for a new chief, but the Lake County Sheriff's Office has offered Ronan an alternative to having their own department.

Changes are coming to the Ronan Police Department.

The city council has put out an ad for a new police chief after several problems with the department over the last few years.

We headed to the city hall to get a copy of the application and see what the posting said.

Mayor Kim Aipperspach, who declined to speak with us on camera, said they modeled their application process after other cities in Montana.

Lake County Undersheriff Dan Yonkin is supportive of Ronan adding a new chief, but says he also has a different solution to the problem.

"I really feel that Ronan would benefit from a full-time police department," said Yonkin.

Yonkin pitched an idea to the Ronan City Council for outsourcing their department by hiring and using sheriff's deputies with his office that would be designated to the Ronan area.

Yonkin's plan would cost Ronan $360,000 for five new officers for the year.

"With the issues with the police department with the turnover they'd had recently, it seemed like it was a potential resolution to some of those problems that I thought we could help with," Yonkin said.

While the city council has decided to move forward with its plan of searching for and hiring a new chief, Yonkin tells us the door isn't completely shut, and he'd be welcome to the idea, if he was approached again.

"I think the county sheriff should always take a look at that, and in our county anyways, and could provide a good valuable service to the good folks down in Ronan," said Yonkin.

Ronan's police department is accepting an application until July 10 or until the position is filled.

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