Lori Flaten has marked another milestone in her 40-year career.

"I feel very honored to be chosen," said Mandan's first female deputy chief of police. "I look back, I was the first woman who was sergeant, who was lieutenant, who was deputy chief, so it’s been a lot of firsts."

Flaten, Sgt. April Bowman and Lt. Rick Widicker were promoted and honored Wednesday afternoon in a ceremony at the Mandan Police Department. Fellow police, public officials and family members crowded a meeting room as the officers received their badges and new collar brass.

Bowman said she feels honored and excited to return to patrol duties as sergeant after time as a detective. She's been in law enforcement for 18 years, including six with Mandan Police.

"It's been a little while since I've been on the streets, but I have 12 years of prior patrol experience," she said. 

Bowman, Flaten and Widicker have worked together in various capacities through the years.

Flaten was Widicker's lieutenant when he was a school resource officer. He and Bowman also were shift partners for a year or two. 

"It kind of makes it special that April is sergeant today because there’s someone who is following in my footsteps finally," Flaten said. 

Widicker said he was happy to see the support in the room Wednesday, and the promotions are a good step for the department.

"I think it's a chance for me to advance and expand my career a little bit and try some new things and take on some new challenges," he said.

His 16-year career reaches back to his interest in law enforcement while young. 

"Just the opportunity to do something a little different and help the community," Widicker said.

Mandan Police Chief Jason Ziegler said the promotions are a defining moment for the three officers.

"Promotion is much more than just telling people what to do or how to do it," he said. "It’s being a servant leader focused primarily on growth and the well-being of people and their communities."

Following his remarks, the officers received their new brass and badges from fellow police and family members, respectively. In her new role, Flaten helped pin the new collar brass. 

"This is really exciting for all of us," she said. "We're off to new challenges."

She said her career in law enforcement saw challenges of people who didn't take her seriously at first or who questioned her abilities.

But that was the 1970s; things have changed, Flaten said.

"I’ve always been proud to have shown the officers and the community that women can do the job just as well as men," she said.

Reach Jack Dura at 701-250-8225 or jack.dura@bismarcktribune.com.

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Crime and Courts Reporter