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Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said Thursday he will seek a second term.

"There's a lot of things accomplished and I'm very busy and I want to continue on to serve the community," said Kirchmeier, who sought the sheriff's position in 2014 after 29 years with the North Dakota Highway Patrol.

In his first term, he led the law enforcement response to the monthslong protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline in southern Morton County, which attracted 10,000 people at their height in late 2016.

The demonstrations drew worldwide attention as protesters and officers clashed amid mass arrests, fires and law enforcement tactics that drew criticism. Almost a year after officers cleared the protest camps, about 300 protest defendants still face criminal charges.

Kirchmeier said his first term went well and he would like to continue to improve efficiency in his office. Promotions last month of 11 officers have helped that, he added.

"There are a lot of things that needed to be addressed, and the majority of that has been done," he said. "Due to the protests, some things were delayed."

The Morton County Sheriff's Department has 36 sworn officers, including Kirchmeier.

The 54-year-old New Salem native said he initially ran for Morton County sheriff as "a goal to shoot for" after his career with the highway patrol.

Reach Jack Dura at 701-250-8225 or jack.dura@bismarcktribune.com.

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Crime and Courts Reporter