Patrol gets new superintendent
BISMARCK -- Maj. Mark Nelson, second in command at the state Highway Patrol, will become its new superintendent next month. The current superintendent, Col. Brian Klipfel, is retiring Aug. 9 to take a new job finding workers for North Dakota indu...
BISMARCK -- Maj. Mark Nelson, second in command at the state Highway Patrol, will become its new superintendent next month.
The current superintendent, Col. Brian Klipfel, is retiring Aug. 9 to take a new job finding workers for North Dakota industries.
Nelson will be promoted to colonel, said Gov. John Hoeven in the announcement Wednesday in Bismarck.
Klipfel, 54, has been superintendent since November 2003, when he replaced Jim Hughes. He has been with the patrol for 30 years.
His new job will be target industry liaison with Job Service North Dakota, finding workers for advanced manufacturing and energy jobs in the state, and for other industries with high-wage jobs, the governor's office said.
Klipfel said he's been eligible for retirement from the patrol for several years but stayed to accomplish some goals at the agency and "wasn't looking to retire."
He changed his mind when he saw the Job Service position advertised. He has a human resources background with the patrol, so "I just felt it was a job I'd be very interested in." He put in an application and was offered the job, he said.
The Highway Patrol superintendent makes $78,000 a year. Klipfel will make about $42,000 at Job Service, but will also have a Highway Patrol pension.
Both Nelson and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem praised Klipfel for having fostered relationships with county sheriffs and Bureau of Criminal Investigations agents that are now better than ever. Nelson said he and Klipfel have worked closely together in the patrol's administration, conferring on various decisions.
Nelson, 50, a native of southern Minnesota who moved to North Dakota to become a Highway Patrol trooper, was first stationed in Rolla. In 1989, he was promoted to sergeant and stationed in Richardton and Dickinson. He was promoted to captain in 1996 and assigned to be the Grand Forks district commander.
After the 1997 flood, Nelson was named Grand Forks' interim police chief, which he did for six months while continuing his duties with the patrol.
In 2002, Nelson was promoted to major and moved to the Bismarck state headquarters to be field operations commander.
Nelson's uniform bears a small medal above his right chest pocket--a Legion of Honor Award from the patrol in recognition that he was once injured in the line of duty.
He said it is from an incident in October 1982, when he was stationed at Rolla. He stopped a vehicle whose occupants assaulted him, inflicting injuries that required about 50 stitches. Still, he managed to pursue their vehicle and they were eventually captured. He said he missed no work due to the injuries.
The men were convicted in U.S. District Court of assault on a federal officer and sentenced to prison, he said. At the time the Highway Patrol had jurisdiction on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation, where the assault happened, and that is why it was charged as a federal crime.
Cole works for Forum Communications Co., which owns The Jamestown Sun