FBI should keep fighting crime in Bakken area | TSLN.com

FBI should keep fighting crime in Bakken area

Representative Steve Daines is calling on the FBI to maintain a strong presence in eastern Montana and increase cooperative public safety efforts with state and local law enforcement officials.

Daines pressed FBI Director James Comey to maintain the FBI's current presence in Sidney, Montana, noting local law enforcement officials' concerns regarding recent reports that the FBI may consider moving its agents out of eastern Montana.

"While the continued production in Montana's Bakken region has spurred economic development and job creation, it has also resulted in surging populations and a corresponding increase in crime," Daines stated. "Area law enforcement officials have conveyed their concerns over reports that the FBI may consider moving its agents out of Sidney and shared the critical need for federal law enforcement support in eastern Montana. After conversations with them, it is clear to me that an FBI presence there is critical for our region's safety and continued growth."

Daines noted that crime in the primary Bakken region, which encompasses Daniels, Richland, Roosevelt and Sheridan counties, increased by 228 percent between 2008 and 2012. Richland County alone had 151 times the number of offenses in 2012 than it did in 2008.

Additionally, the increase in crime has propelled Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito to call for a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force in Eastern Montana.

Daines also called cooperative efforts between federal agents and local law enforcement a critical component of addressing increased criminal activity and maintaining public safety in eastern Montana.

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"By all accounts, the FBI agents in Sidney are bolstering the efforts of local law enforcement to respond effectively to the changing demographics and rising criminal activity," Daines added. "For these reasons, I respectfully request the FBI to maintain its presence in Sidney." F

–Congressman Daines