Hoeven Working to Place More FBI, DEA Agents in Williston on a Permanent Basis

Senator, ND Attorney General Push Feds to Increase Presence in Bakken

WILLISTON, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today brought together local law enforcement professionals from across western North Dakota for a roundtable discussion to push for stationing FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents in Williston. The senator has been making the case to enhance the agencies’ prevention and enforcement efforts by establishing offices and committing to a greater presence in the region.

Currently, FBI agents are not permanently stationed in Williston, but rotate in from Sidney and other cities for a couple of weeks to a month at a time, and local law enforcement feel they have to spend too much time acclimating them to the area, diminishing their effectiveness. DEA agents are not rotated in regularly. Hoeven says agents from both agencies need to be stationed in the area permanently to understand what law enforcement is facing and to develop strategies to address crime.

“My objective is to have more federal agents permanently based in Williston and western North Dakota to meet the public safety needs that come with the growth we are experiencing there,” Hoeven said. “Our local law enforcement officials have the best understanding of the situation and do a good job with the tools and resources they have, but we can better address drug trafficking and other serious crimes with the active engagement and permanent presence of experienced, well equipped federal agents.”

Hoeven and North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem also highlighted a letter they sent this week to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) requesting that the agencies increase the number of agents and permanently staff offices in western North Dakota. The letter can be found here.

Today’s roundtable comes as part of the senator’s continued efforts to provide local and state officials with the federal law enforcement resources they need to ensure the safety of communities in the western part of the state. The senator recently spoke with DEA head Michele Leonhart to ensure that DEA is providing the necessary support to local and state officials in North Dakota to fight the growing number of drug crimes. Hoeven invited her to meet with him in North Dakota or in Washington to address the issue.

Hoeven, who serves on the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, announced earlier this summer that the committee passed the Commerce, Justice and Science funding bill, which includes a provision directing the Department of Justice (DOJ) to develop a plan to support law enforcement in the Bakken. This language will help ensure that DOJ provides adequate law enforcement in the region and that DOJ resources are allocated properly.

Officials participating in today’s roundtable included Williams County Sheriff Scott Busching; Williston Police Chief Jim Lokken; Ward County Sheriff Steve Kukowski; Minot Police Chief Jason Olson; McKenzie County Sheriff John Fulwider; Watford City Police Chief Art Walgren; Stark County Sheriff Clarence Tuhy; Dickinson Police Chief Dustin Dassinger; Mountrail County Sheriff Kenneth Halvorson; Dunn County Sheriff Clay Coker and Divide County Sheriff Lauren W. Throntveit.