The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation has reorganized southwest North Dakota’s narcotics task force to further crack down on drugs in the area, officials say.
The area’s narcotics busting team was known as the South Sakakawea Narcotics Task Force, but they broke away from that group and reorganized as the Southwest Narcotics Task Force, said Chuck Rummel, Dickinson Police chief.
“It’s as busy and it’s as big, but its focus is now southwest North Dakota,” Rummel said.
Before the change the narcotics team covered Center as well as Grant, Oliver and Sheridan counties, he added.
Dunn County and Killdeer stuck with the Stark County group and Bowman, Adams, Slope, Golden Valley and Billings counties, along with the cities of Medora and Bowman have joined the Southwest Narcotics Task Force, said Stark County Sheriff Clarence Tuhy.
“It’s just going to serve the area a lot better,” Tuhy said.
Hettinger County isn’t participating, but they will be, said Sarah Warner, Hettinger County Sheriff’s Department.
“When January comes around, we will reinvest in them,” she said.
The change isn’t expected to affect Stark and Dunn counties, but an officer will be hired to cover the southern counties involved in the new teams.
“Our information that we get down here, any narcotics information, is going to be given to the task force, the new task force,” said Rory Teigen, Bowman County sheriff. “They’ll be more specialized in narcotics. They won’t be doing our day to day stuff down here, they’re going to be working narcotics and that’s all.”
The task force will pick up some of what the counties are already doing, as well as work on their own investigations, Teigen said.
“We’re not passing up anything … they’re going to work with us in order to make it more efficient,” he added. “It’s an additional tool. We’re trying to get better at what we do and more efficient.”
The reorganization was effective Oct. 1, Rummel said and changes are still being made.