BISMARCK — Four area law enforcement agencies are teaming with a federal agency to investigate and arrest fugitives wanted on active federal and state felony warrants, hoping to build on the success of a spring sweep that netted more than 60 arrests in Bismarck-Mandan.
The Mandan Police Department, Bismarck Police Department, Morton County Sheriff’s Office and Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department have agreed to commit manpower and resources to the U.S. Marshals Service’s High Plains Fugitive Task Force. U.S. Marshal Dallas Carlson made the announcement Monday, June 17 at the Burleigh Morton Detention Center.
“This cooperative agreement will make the communities safer and make offenders accountable for their actions,” he said. A plan for expandi ng the task force to the Bismarck-Mandan area has been in the works for about a year and will draw on the success of the task force in the eastern part of the state, according to Carlson.
Task forces combine the knowledge and resources of all agencies involved, which has been shown to be more efficient, he said.
In March, the U.S. Marshals Service along with six local law enforcement agencies made 63 arrests and executed 75 warrants in what was called Operation Spring Break. Burleigh County Sheriff Kelly Leben said the two-week operation was a test run of sorts.
“That was kind of the ‘let’s see how this is going to look when it’s played out on the street,’” Leben said.
Talks for two years
The U.S. Marshals Service had been in talks with Burleigh County for two years about the possibility of such an agreement, according to Leben. One of the concerns was using local resources for a federal issue.
“We felt very confident that not only would we be helping them but more importantly they’d be helping us,” he said. “Some of the people that are wanted are the same people committing crimes in our cities and in our counties.”
Two officers from the Bismarck Police Department and one from the Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department were sworn in Monday as special deputy U.S. Marshals. They will work with the task force part-time and still have duties with their respective departments. An officer from the Mandan Police Department also will be sworn in.
The High Plains task force originated in Fargo in 2010. Task force officers have arrested more than 2,800 fugitives and cleared 6,872 federal, state and local warrants. Last year, U.S. Marshals task forces nationwide arrested nearly 83,000 fugitives and cleared more than 101,000 warrants. The High Plains task force is commanded by a supervisory deputy U.S. Marshal in Fargo. The local unit will be run by a deputy U.S. Marshal assigned to the U.S. Marshals Service Bismarck office.
The task force benefits smaller departments with limited resources, Mandan Deputy Police Chief Jason Bier said.
“Being able to partner with these agencies to keep these violent offenders out of the city is a great opportunity,” Bier said.
Leben said it was symbolic that the announcement was held at the facility where fugitives will be held after being arrested by the task force.
“The whole goal of it is to get the bad of the bad off the streets and locked up in jail,” he said.