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New RPD officer enjoying small town life

By Sue Sitter - | Aug 14, 2021

Submitted Photo Rugby Police Officer Sean Hurly poses next to his patrol car.

With one week as a Rugby police officer behind him, Sean Hurly says he’s enjoying the change from life in a big city to the friendliness of a small town.

Hurly began his new career as a patrol officer in Rugby July 27.

His brother, Michael, serves as a district court judge in Pierce County.

Sean Hurly has two university degrees and experience working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in New Orleans, La., and Kansas City, Mo. in emergency management.

“I started off in Homeland Security emergency management in New Orleans, Louisiana, and I also spent two years in the Kansas City Regional Fusion Center with the Kansas City Police Department. That’s a nine-county regional fusion center,” Hurly said.

“The Kansas City Regional Fusion Center is located out of the police department there,” Hurly explained. “They do intelligence for terrorism and major criminal activity. What the fusion center does is pass that information on to any law enforcement agency within that nine-county region and they also share it when it needs to be shared with outside jurisdictions.”

Hurly added, “For example, in North Dakota, (the equivalent is called) the North Dakota State Law Enforcement Intelligence Center, or NDSLIC. That’s run by the highway patrol out of Bismarck. They’re in the same region as Kansas City, so we would share information with NDSLIC if need be. So, if there was a bad guy from Missouri and he happened to be going to North Dakota, we would pass that information on to NDSLIC.”

Hurly said his career began in emergency management in New Orleans. Hurly graduated from Missouri Southern State University with a bachelor’s degree before earning a Master’s in Homeland Security from Tulane University in New Orleans.

“I was in emergency management for eight years,” Hurly said. “That’s dealing with natural disasters like hurricanes or the BP oil spill. When I went to Kansas City, I was part of a Department of Homeland Security Grant to fund my position, so I would spend three days a week in the fusion center and two days a week with the MARC, or Mid America Regional Council’s emergency system,” Hurly said.

Although Hurly had lived in Missouri and Louisiana in recent years, he said he’s no stranger to North Dakota.

“I had grown up in the 1980s in Dickinson, North Dakota, as a little kid,” Hurly said. “I’m 39. For probably the last 10 years, Michael has been working on convincing me to move back to be closer to family. So, we moved my parents last summer to Bismarck.”

“I’ve been thinking about law enforcement for the longest time, but I spent so much time in emergency management and Homeland Security, it was a matter of finding the right time to do it,” Hurly said. “At the end of the day, what it was really about was financial decisions, leaving the job and going to the academy.”

“When COVID happened, I figured this is the time to go to the academy,” Hurly said. “I spoke to Lieutenant John Maritato in Devils Lake and graduated on May 13 from Class 100 at the Lake Region State College Law Enforcement Academy.”

Hurly had lived in Rugby while attending the academy. When he graduated, he learned of an opportunity with the Rugby Police Department.

“I was like, ‘Why don’t I just apply in Rugby?'” Hurly recounted. “I like this community, so why leave? Why look somewhere else? I have the nieces and nephew here and my brother and his wife, so it doesn’t make any sense to go to Grand Forks or anywhere else if I really like Rugby.”

Hurly said he would avoid any conflicts of interest should a criminal case he’s involved with go to court. “My brother has to recuse himself from any case I’m involved with and that would have to go to another judge.”

“I go and do my job and if (a case) takes me to court, I’m under the impression most of the time, it goes to the municipal court,” Hurly said. “If it goes to district court, it would immediately go to another judge. If my brother reads his case reports and he sees Officer Hurly is involved in the discussion and these are the charges, he would automatically give it Judge Benson or another judge.”

Hurly said he’s gotten to know his new community, and likes where he lives. He’s visited downtown businesses and eaten at Rugby’s Rockin’ Relics Cafe. However, he spends most of his time off at one of North Dakota’s many lakes.

“I love to fish and I have Lake Metigoshe, Devils Lake, Lake Sakakawea and there are a bunch of smaller lakes here in Pierce County. It’s just as simple as getting a house and getting a garden in the back. I’m pretty simple when it comes to those things. That was the thing that drew me up here: family, being in a small town, being outdoors and fishing,” Hurly said.

“I like the change of pace in being a patrol officer because you’re constantly doing things,” Hurly added. “You’re going out in the community and patroling, so, you’re staying active and proactive in what you’re doing. In emergency management, you stay proactive but you’re really just testing and validating plans but you can only react when an incident happens.”

“I enjoy being around people and getting to know people and I enjoy problem solving, because problem solving is law enforcement,” he added. “As a patrol officer, it’s got to be done right then and there to help somebody out.”

“In the past, I did more administrational things. I like small towns. The nice thing about small towns is everybody knows everybody else,” Hurly said.

“It’s more community-oriented in a small town, whereas in a city, it’s more everybody for themselves. So, it’s kind of nice to be able to know people when you’re going someone. You know the people that are there; you know the personalities and you know all the things about them, whereas in a big city, you’re meeting strangers every single day, outside of your office and small groups,” Hurly added.

“The most important thing about work is enjoying the people you work with and more importantly, enjoying the community,” Hurly said of his choice to live and work in Rugby.

Hurly said he’s enjoyed watching his nephew play little league baseball and his nieces perform in the play “Johnny Appleseed” at the Village Arts Center.

Hurly added, “One thing I noticed about people in Rugby is they help each other out,” Hurly added.

“I hope to stay here until retirement and continue to live in Rugby. I really like it. It’s a great little town and the people are great. It’s nice meeting new people. They’re really welcoming. I would say they have really good values in Rugby,” Hurly said.

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