We're glad that federal law enforcement officials took the time this week to meet with sheriffs and police chiefs from towns in western North Dakota to discuss organized crime in oil country.
But holding the meeting in Denver was absolute nonsense.
U.S. Attorney Tim Purdon and the FBI hosted the three-day meeting, with a goal of being proactive in the battle against potential organized crime issues in western North Dakota. But Purdon, whose office is in Fargo, said the event was held in Denver because there is a lack of meeting space in western North Dakota, and that some companies working in the oil patch are based in Denver.
Purdon is right about one thing: There is a lack of meeting space and hotel rooms in western North Dakota cities like Williston and Minot. But the fact that some oil companies have offices in Denver certainly has nothing to do with a meeting of law enforcement agencies to discuss organized crime.
There's absolutely no reason the three-day meeting couldn't have been held in Bismarck, Grand Forks or Fargo. Holding the meeting in Denver isn't convenient for anyone in North Dakota, especially law enforcement agencies. In fact, Williams County Sheriff Scott Busching said no one from his department could attend the meeting because they're too busy at work. Williston Police Chief Jim Lokken was scheduled to be at the summit,but had the event been in Bismarck or Fargo, perhaps more law enforcement officials from Williams County, which is in the middle of the oil boom and its accompanying problems, could have attended.
It was a horrible idea to move a summit about crime in the oil patch to a location nowhere near the actual oil patch.