Policing an Oil Boom


North Dakota's booming oil industry has contributed to some of the nation's fastest growing local economies during the last half-decade, but police agencies have been spread thin during that time, according to a new study.

Carol Archbold, an associate professor of criminal justice at North Dakota State University, conducted face-to-face interviews with more than 100 officers from four western North Dakota counties between October 2012 and March 2013. Her study reveals the struggles that local police agencies can have adapting to rapid population and economic growth.

The volume of calls for service has more than doubled for most of the agencies studied; in several jurisdictions, call volume has more than tripled.

As calls have increased, police community interaction has become increasingly reactive. About four out of five officers interviewed said “interactions with local schools and businesses has changed since the oil boom began in 2008,” according to the study.

In addition, rapid increases in the local cost of living have led to employee-retention issues.

“Many police agencies have lost employees that have taken higher paying jobs in the oil industry or that have moved out of the region to a more affordable area,” Archbold writes in the study.

Read the full study HERE.

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