- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 30, 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation is hiring nine new agents this fall and stationing many of them in the western oil patch, where crime is increasing.

Two new agents will be based in Williston, working cases involving Internet crimes against children, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem told The Bismarck Tribune (https://bit.ly/1haamcN ). Three of the agents will be based in Bismarck, two at a new field office to open in Watford City and one apiece in Dickinson and Jamestown.

“They’re badly needed,” Stenehjem said.

Crime has been on the upswing in the oil patch as people from around the country have flocked to the region in recent years in search of jobs. Aggravated assaults in the state’s 12 biggest oil-producing counties last year increased 8 percent over 2013, according to state data. The data also show crime was up statewide in most categories in 2014, and drug arrests have nearly doubled in the past decade.

Five of the new agents tentatively are scheduled to begin work Nov. 16, with the other four starting Dec. 1. The Legislature earlier this year approved nearly $2.4 million during the next two years for eight new investigator positions. BCI is hiring nine because of a resignation, spokeswoman Liz Brocker told The Associated Press.

The new agents will boost the 43 already on staff, 39 of which are engaged in investigative work, BCI Director Dallas Carlson said. They will provide relief to current staff and allow for more attention on cases of human trafficking and organized crime in western North Dakota, he said.

Most of the new agents come from local law agencies across the state.

“We have a lot qualified experience coming on board,” Carlson said.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, https://www.bismarcktribune.com


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