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Local law enforcement officers continue to serve at DAPL protest site

Next week Jamestown Police Department officers and Stutsman County Sheriff's Office deputies will be helping law enforcement agencies defend the Dakota Access Pipeline site from protesters in Morton County.

Next week Jamestown Police Department officers and Stutsman County Sheriff's Office deputies will be helping law enforcement agencies defend the Dakota Access Pipeline site from protesters in Morton County.

Scott Edinger, Jamestown chief of police, and Stutsman County Sheriff Chad Kaiser said Thursday that police officers and deputies will be sent to Morton County to assist the Morton County Sheriff's Office as needed.

Kaiser said next week members of the James Valley Special Operations Team will be going to the Dakota Access Pipeline protest site near Cannon Ball, N.D., to fill in for officers who have been serving at the site for a while. Kaiser said he, too, may help out behind the scenes as needed at the protest site.

Kaiser said he has been on or near the front line when protesters have advanced on the law enforcement lines.

"They (the protesters) try and antagonize the law enforcement officers to take action on them," he said. "We've done a really good job of restraint, we stand and hold the line."

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Kaiser said when protesters are trying to get a reaction from the officers on the front line, they will taunt officers, call them names. He said the last time there was a confrontation between protesters and law enforcement, protesters were throwing full frozen water bottles.

Kaiser said none of his deputies have been seriously injured during the protests.

"I've had to duck a few times," he said. "There have been a few bruises from stuff hitting people, nothing too major."

Edinger said six officers will be heading to Morton County next week, depending on court schedules.

"Unless something happens," he said, "how many we send will depend on how many people we have available and what the need is out at the (protest) site."

Edinger said the protesters who are left in the camps established on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land near the site where the last leg of the Dakota Access Pipeline will go under Lake Oahe are not likely to leave on their own.

"I guess they (the remaining protesters) are not making any bones about that they will resist leaving the camps," he said.

Edinger said Corps officials will have to set a deadline by which protesters will have to leave due to the likelihood of flooding. Three of the remaining camps are located in flood plains along the Missouri River.

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"The flooding will happen before the drilling is finished," he said.

Edinger said protesters have already posted threats on social media sites about what will happen to police officers who come to the protest site. He said the protesters have threatened to damage the drilling site for the pipeline.

Edinger said he was at the Backwater Bridge on N.D. Highway 1806 on Nov. 20 when protesters were sprayed with water from fire hoses after they refused to leave the bridge.

He said protesters pelted law enforcement officers with frozen water bottles, burning logs and lug nuts and bolts shot from sling shots.
"I've never experienced anything so violent in my life," he said.

Edinger said since these remaining protesters are on federal land, he considers it the federal government's responsibility to remove them.

"If they (the federal government) decide to forcibly remove them or not, we may be there to assist," he said."This is bigger than the state of North Dakota; this shouldn't be our responsibility."

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