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Beleaguered former Valley City police chief, now mayoral candidate, won't be charged for misconduct

Dean Ross

VALLEY CITY, N.D. -- After months of dispute with city officials, Dean Ross, the former police chief here, received a bit of good news on Monday.

Just hours after he qualified for the upcoming mayoral recall election, the Barnes County State's Attorney's Office released a report stating it would not charge Ross with any crimes for his alleged mishandling of public funds.

The state Bureau of Criminal Investigation looked into allegations that Ross mismanaged and misappropriated funds relating to bank accounts and to the sales of two pickups and several squad video camera systems.

The state's attorney's report, based on the BCI investigation and dated Nov. 23, concluded that "although some of Ross's actions were unusual and likely not compliant with generally accepted accounting practices, nothing shows that they were criminal."

The BCI agent who investigated Ross found that some acts "appeared abnormal," the report stated, but "no evidence proves that Ross disposed of, used, or transferred funds in a manner he knew was not authorized and knew involved a risk of loss."

Ross, who resigned as police chief in September, said he is pleased with the outcome of the investigation and is looking forward to turning his attention to his mayoral campaign.

"The BCI report confirms and verifies what we've been saying all along throughout this situation," he said.

Valley City Mayor Bob Werkhoven said although Ross's handling of funds was "certainly not good accounting practice," the city would accept the result of the investigation and move on.

City Commission Vice President Jon Wagar, who, along with former city administrator Jon Cameron, had originally brought the charges against Ross this summer, could not be reached for comment.

Cameron resigned from his post earlier this month to take another job.

Ross announced on Nov. 15 that he intended to run against Werkhoven in the Jan. 24 recall election. Valley City Auditor Avis Richter confirmed on Monday that Ross had submitted enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.