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Published March 17 2012

Forum editorial: Summit on Bakken great start

There has been a little grumbling out of western North Dakota because a law enforcement summit focusing on the oil boom convened in Denver, not in Bismarck, Williston, Minot or Fargo. The grumbling, including a curiously misinformed editorial in a western daily newspaper, is about as silly as it gets. Here’s why:

It’s small-minded to complain that the session was not in North Dakota. The meeting’s importance for developing strategies for law enforcement in the Bakken should not be sidetracked by provincial silliness. Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney, who wrote the book in North Dakota for cooperation and collaboration among law enforcement agencies (during recent floods), had high praise for the Denver meeting. He was complimentary of oil firm representatives – many with offices in Denver – who are eager to work with all law enforcement to stop a crime wave before it happens.

North Dakota crows that the Bakken play has put the state on the national energy stage. True enough. But it also has gotten the attention of criminals and assorted flim-flam artists. The potential for everything from increased drug trafficking to organized prostitution is quite real, and the assembled experts in Denver are first to say so.

The summit was an opportunity to bring together personnel who will be – and are – on the front lines in the Bakken. They have begun the process of assessing the extent of problems today and planning to prevent bigger problems in the future. That’s good news. Complaining about where they did their work was an unfortunate sideshow.

Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.