Calhoun County Prepares for Bakken Protests, Landowners Wish Protesters Well

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Protesters of the Bakken Pipeline are driving up costs for both developers and police departments forced to respond.

Protests will head for an undisclosed location in Calhoun County on Saturday.

“It is not our intentions, the Calhoun County Sheriff’s department, we do not want to have to arrest people” said Calhoun County Sheriff William Davis.

Davis says he knows the area well, and says the protests eat at him.

“Born and raised in Calhoun County, I worked for a lot of the farmers where the pipeline’s going through when I was in high school. It’s tense, it’s very sensitive and I understand that, but I can’t take sides. I’m here to keep the law and I’ll do what I’m supposed to do” said Davis.

Normally Davis would be the only one on-duty Saturday, but now he’s been forced to put six deputies on-call and have up to four state troopers on standby.

“We want them to be able to come and protest peacefully within the boundaries of the law. That’s their right; we’ll protect that right as we’ll protect the pipeline” said Davis.

That pipeline runs right through Shirley Gerjet’s farm.

“It just makes me sick because look how long it took for Mother Nature to make the dirt like that” said Gerjet.

With tons of precious Iowa black soil overturned, Gerjet has a decidedly different view on the protests.

“Power to them, more power to them.  I hoped we could get something done a long time, but we’re still working on it. If we don`t ever get noticed in Washington D.C. we’re not going to get anything done” said Gerjet.

“A lot of blood and sweat went in to that” she said looking at the soil.  “We try to take care of it the best we can and they come in with no respect whatsoever. They just want that pipe in the ground and that’s all” she said.

Sheriff Davis says this is the first protest he’s had to deal with and that he doesn’t know how much it’ll cost the department if he has to bring in officers on-call.

On-call officers get paid overtime.