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Dickinson police chief candidates greet public

Mayor Dennis Johnson, left, speaks with Dickinson Police chief candidate Jeff Jirak and his wife Alissa during a public reception in Dickinson Tuesday at the Badlands Activity Center.

Area residents met, mingled with and listened to presentations from two men vying for the role of Dickinson police chief Tuesday at the Badlands Activity Center.

City Administrator Shawn Kessel said Muscatine Iowa Police Lt. Jeff Jirak or Dickinson Police Capt. Dustin Dassinger will likely be offered the job by the end of the week.

Jirak's goal, should he be named chief, is to provide a safe place to live.

"It comes down to providing you folks out here, every one of you with no exceptions, with the quality of life that you want to stay, remain, raise your kids, grandkids and generations on in Dickinson," Jirak said.

Dassinger will to lean toward developing and reinventing community-orientated programs if he is named chief.

"As our community grows, it's very important that our police department has a very strong working relationship with our community," Dassinger said.

Jirak said he wants to be Dickinson's police chief because he likes the challenge of the area's recent growth.

"An individual needs to come in with foresight to try to predict what the problems are and combat them before they happen," he said.

Dassinger wants to be chief because of his experience in Southwest North Dakota.

"I grew up in this community and I know what this community expects and deserves from the law enforcement agency," he said.

Many who attended the meeting seemed to favor Dassinger as chief.

"I'm for the local boy," said Bernie Marsh. "They could be equally competent for the job, but you have one person who already knows what's going on while the other one has got to take time to learn what's going on. How much time does that take?"

Joe Boespflug agreed.

"I favor local talent," he said. "I think they're both very knowledgeable people in the career field that they're pursuing and I think that the city is fortunate having people like that come forward."

Kessel said he and Mayor Dennis Johnson will use input gathered from meetings Tuesday and today to decide who will be the city's next chief.

"Both candidates presented well," Johnson said. "I'm trying to keep an open mind."