BISMARCK, N.D. — Many top-ranking law enforcement and legal officials in Bismarck and Burleigh Counties plan to retire or not seek re-election this year.

Bismarck City Attorney Charlie Whitman, Bismarck Police Chief Dan Donlin and Burleigh County State’s Attorney Richard Riha are retiring, The Bismarck Tribune reported . South Central District Judge Bruce Haskell and Burleigh County Sheriff Pat Heinert won’t be seeking re-election.

North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation Director Dallas Carlson has also been nominated to be the state’s next federal marshal. The Senate still must approve the nomination.

The departures will represent a large loss of institutional knowledge, Riha said. But many of the officials say there are many qualified candidates to take their place.

“I think there’s a lot of experience in the ranks, and I think it’s just a lot of good opportunities for the next set to come in,” Whitman said. “There’s a lot of good, qualified people to come and backfill these positions, I think.”

It’s rare to see so much simultaneous turnover in leadership positions, but the counties shouldn’t see any negative effects, said Brian Johnson, a prosecutor who is a candidate for the state’s attorney position.

“I think that we have a lot of qualified individuals to fill these positions,” he said. “I wouldn’t expect there to be any drastic changes as far as the future of Bismarck and Burleigh County.”

Burleigh County voters will vote for their next sheriff and state’s attorney this year. Haskell’s judgeship position will also be up for election this year. The Bismarck City Commission will select the next city attorney and police chief.

The succession process for Carlson, if he’s confirmed to the new post, is yet to be determined, said Liz Brocker, spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office.


Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com