Nelson County Sheriff's Department

Michigan, North Dakota contracts its police protection through the Nelson County Sheriff's Department.  This arrangement has been in place since July 1984.

The first Nelson County Sheriff was appointed June 9, 1883. Sheriff Josiah Pierce received $4,000 a year for enforcing the law in Nelson County.

Since that date twenty-four men have been elected to the Sheriff's position, including the current Sheriff Kurt Schwind.  Those that have served are as follows:

  • Josiah Pierce
  • Frank K. McCoy
  • Oliver Knudson
  • Samuel Dahl
  • Gilbart Jorgenson
  • Thorvold Sween
  • Peter E. Sandlie
  • C.E. Johnson
  • A.H. Smart
  • Sandler Peterson
  • Lewis Bakke
  • T.E. Latourette
  • M.K. Fjeld
  • E.T. Swendseid
  • Fred Nelson
  • J.R. Tangen
  • Martin Lindvig
  • B.W. Kabeary
  • Lloyd O. Craft
  • Arthur F. Varty
  • Dale Quam
  • Kelly J. Janke
  • Keith Olson
  • Kurt Schwind

Earlier Sheriff's were elected for a two-year term; since 1962 they have served a four-year term.  Sheriff Martin Lindvig and Sheriff Fred Nelson were both elected to five terms (not consecutive).

Sheriff's are now required to have eleven weeks of basic training at the Law Enforcement Training Center in Bismarck and yearly in-service training, plus re-certification to carry sidearms.

In earlier years the jail was provided behind the old courthouse for county prisoners. The new courthouse has no jail facilities. County prisoners are now boarded at the Lake Region Law Enforcement Center in Devils Lake, ND.

At the present time the Nelson County Sheriff's Department has five full-time employees.