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Law Enforcement Funding in Oil Country

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The oil boom is creating a surplus of money for North Dakota, and during the last legislative session people across the state were eager to see what law makers would do with the money.

     Law Enforcement agencies in the oil patch are receiving some of that money, and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem was in Watford City yesterday to explain how the money will be used.

 

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says his main goal is to put more officers on the road. To get those officers, Stenehjem is focusing a large portion of the money on a few specific things. 

 

     "Equipment, fire arms if that's a needs. Assistance for rent or housing assistance so we can get people who want to be law enforcement officers working," said North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.

 

The Legislature appropriated 16.6 million dollars for law enforcement in western North Dakota. 7 million of that is for sheriffs in oil impacted counties. Sheriff Scott Busching is looking at some new equipment to help improve his department efficiency.

 

     "Radio systems, vehicle upgrades, some training, and get some things that will benefit the whole northwest part of the state, along with Williams County," said Williams County Sheriff Scott Busching.

 

Nothing is set in stone yet. Once department figure out want they want, requests have to be sent in for approval. The other 9.6 million is being used to help other agencies in the oil patch. Watford City has 10 officers and only 7 vehicles, so the department is applying for more vehicles.

 

     "We need officers in the streets, with the new vehicles that will put those officers on the streets to get those arrests, to make those contacts," said Watford City Police Sergeant Andrew Langowski.

 

Stenehjem told the officers regional coverage will make the money go along way.

 

     "Figure out how we can partner with the city of Williston, and some of the surrounding counties so we're not duplicating some of requests, hopefully we'll be able to use some of this stuff regionally," Busching added.

 

Stenehjem says North Dakota is still one of the safest states in the country, but there are new crimes officers are having to deal with, like prostitution and prescription drug abuse and trafficking.

 

     Stenehjem "We need to make sure we get a handle on it, and we do it now because we can either spend a little bit now, or down the road it's going to be much more expensive," added Stenehjem.

 

Another portion of the 16.9 million dollars is going to overtime.

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