The Board of University and School Lands (Land Board) today awarded about $5 million in state grants to support sheriff offices and other local law enforcement agencies in North Dakota's oil-production region. The Land Board also awarded about $100,000 in grant funds to law enforcement agencies that are serving growing populations throughout the state.
Since July, the Land Board has awarded about $15.3 million to support local law enforcement agencies in western North Dakota. The funding is part of a $240-million state grant program created during the last Legislative session to help address the impacts of rapid growth in western North Dakota.
"These law enforcement funds concentrate on meeting immediate safety needs by putting peace officers on the road, appropriately trained, properly equipped and affordably housed," Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said. "I am confident we will be able to show legislators that these critical funds have been wisely invested and are already showing results in investigating criminal activity and prosecuting criminals."
Gov. Jack Dalrymple is chairman of the five-member Land Board. Other board members are Stenehjem, Secretary of State Al Jaeger, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler and State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt. The Land Board voted unanimously in favor of awarding the law enforcement grants.
"These grants are part of a larger strategy to help our local officials and community leaders address the challenges that come with growth," Dalrymple said. "With the Energy Impact Fund, we can tackle a wide range of challenges. We continue to make significant progress, but we recognize that the impacts from rapid growth are very dynamic and we must always be prepared to adapt our response to meet the region's needs."
The law enforcement grants approved by the Land Board today will support sheriff offices, police departments, states attorney offices and regional law enforcement task forces. The state funding will also support domestic violence assistance programs, family crisis assistance and child advocacy. The grants will help pay for patrol vehicles; mobile fingerprint scans that provide immediate identification; portable scales for weight enforcement; funding for housing allowances; funding to hire additional officers, victim advocates and other public safety personnel as well as training, police safety gear and other equipment. For a complete list of law enforcement grants approved today by the Land Board go to www.nd.gov/energyimpact
State funding appropriated to support the region's law enforcement agencies and other emergency responders during the 2013-2015 biennium includes:
$9.6 million for Attorney General grants to law enforcement agencies.
$7 million in Energy Impact Grant funds for sheriffs' departments.
$7 million for emergency medical service providers.
$3.5 million for fire protection districts.
$9.6 million for critical access hospitals.
In all, the state will invest about $2.6 billion to support the state's oil and gas region during the 2013-2015 biennium. The state's 2013-2015 commitment -- more than twice the amount of the previous, two-year funding package of about $1.2 billion -- is being used to address a wide range of needs in western North Dakota, including: highway, county and township road improvements; water supply and water treatment projects; the development of low-to-moderate income housing and assistance for growing school districts. Other state commitments include stationing more Highway Patrol troopers in western North Dakota; enhancements to the region's court system and funding for dust suppression projects.