More Oil, More Crime | VideoMichelle San Miguel | 2/26/2012
Williston police officers have seen a rapid spike in traffic accidents since 2009. In just two years, the number of accidents increased by 102 percent.
"We had to have more officers to respond to those calls. We didn`t have enough officers. We were starting to have to prioritize calls, you know, which one should we go to, which one`s the biggest emergency-type and we don`t want to do that," said Capt. Tom Ladwig of the Williston Police Department.
Since the boom began, the starting salary for new Williston police officers has gone up about 20 percent. Now, new officers can expect to earn about $45,000 a year.
Bryan Hutchinson is one of the many new officers in Williston. For three years, he tried finding a law enforcement job in Minnesota but to no avail. "It`s really hard for somebody starting out, fresh out of school to get a job like that for the pay like you`re making out here so that`s another reason why I came out here too," he said.
The joke around the office is that in just one year a new officer will get about five years worth of experience. But it`s not a joke. Many officers are working overtime. Their 12 hour shifts simply aren`t long enough to deal with their increasing workload.
"Our guys run from call to call all night and then spend two hours after their shift doing the paperwork on overtime hours because they can`t get it done during the normal shift," Ladwig said.
NBC North Dakota News will have much more on this story in a one-hour special airing Wednesday, Feb. 29 at 7 p.m. We`ll take you inside the Williams County Jail and tell you why many inmates aren`t staying in jail for very long. We`ll also hear from locals about what they`re doing to better protect themselves.