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Forum News Service, Published February 27 2014

Ex-Grand Forks officer sentenced to community service in gun incident

GRAND FORKS - A former Grand Forks police officer charged with holding his handgun to the head of a party guest in his home was sentenced Wednesday to 100 hours of community service.

State District Judge Sonja Clapp also deferred imposition of Jace Prelip’s sentence, meaning if he completes a year of probation, the charge will be taken off the books.

Prelip, 28, originally faced a felony charge of terrorizing after a booze-soaked party in his home in August 2012 that would have put him in prison for at least two years.

The incident happened after hours of drinking by Prelip and several other law enforcement officers. His victim, at the time a University of North Dakota student, said he feared for his life but was afraid to say anything among the group of officers.

Prelip argued at his trial in December that it clearly was a joke, the gun was not loaded and nobody took it seriously as a threat.

A jury acquitted him of the felony but convicted him of a minor misdemeanor of disorderly conduct.

Shortly after the incident, Prelip quit after nearly three years on the force. He now lives in Savage, Minn., according to a letter of support provided before sentencing.