WASHINGTON All good things must come to an end, even things that were good for many, many people.
Dan Roggenbuck, a decorated FBI agent with ties to the Minot area, retired recently after a career that spanned more than three decades in law enforcement, the last 25 with the FBI.
Roggenbuck began his law enforcement career in 1973 working at the Ward County jail as a dispatcher and jailer. Subsequent moves led to stints in McLean County, U.S. Army Intelligence and Security, and five years at the Minot Police Department.
Through the course of his career, he earned several degrees at universities including North Dakota State University, Minot State University, and a master's degree at Southern Illinois University.
Once he joined the FBI, Roggenbuck's assignments sent him all around the country, including another stint in Minot. Internationally, Roggenbuck worked in United Arab Emirates as well as most of Europe and the Middle East. He also worked in locations in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
Roggenbuck credits the decision to enter the law enforcement field to admiration for his older brother, Bob Roggenbuck, who retired as chief of the Ashley Police Department in 2008. His decision to pursue a career with the FBI was influenced by his wife, Sandra Collins Roggenbuck, a former Minot City Council member.
Recalling his career at the Minot Police Department, Roggenbuck noted his contemporaries included current Chief Jeff Balentine who was a rookie patrolman then; retired Sgt. Mike Knoop, a fingerprinting expert with whom Dan Roggenbuck said he and his brother graduated from the state law enforcement training center; and current Deputy U.S. Marshal Dwight Thompson.
Roggenbuck said then-Chief Carroll Erickson encouraged and supported the furthering of officers' training and education if his officers desired to advance in the field.
"Chief Erickson always said that a little change was alright, because it would not be good for the entire department to grow old together," Roggenbuck said.
Roggenbuck said that when the time came to retire from the FBI recently, he didn't have the easiest time.
"It wasn't too bad handing over the credentials, but I was a little slower in letting loose of the badge that I so ardently protected for nearly half of my life," Roggenbuck said. Fortunately, he said the FBI mounted them in a shadow box that now hangs next to the Minot Police Department badge presented to him by Erickson when he transferred from the Minot FBI office to FBI headquarters.
Many events in his career will be forever etched into his memory, he said, including the Jeanna North kidnap and murder case in Fargo. Others include Donna Mae Martz being kidnapped from Bismarck and murdered in Nevada; a triple homicide committed by Emil Decoteau in the Belcourt area; and Paula Sims' double-murder of her infant girls in Illinois.
"Also, the line-of-duty deaths of FBI agents I knew in St. Louis and Washington L. Douglas Abram and William H. Christian Jr., respectively, and working with the survivors of Officer Keith Braddock, killed in the line of duty in Watford City," Roggenbuck said.
He was also involved in several historic cases, including the Unabomber, the Oklahoma City bombing and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Now that he has "free time," Roggenbuck says he has established a consulting and contracting company in Virginia to provide services from the Washington area.
He recommends those who dream of a career in law enforcement to explore their options.
"It is highly demanding, but also highly rewarding," Roggenbuck said. "It provides a tremendous opportunity to meet, serve and work with a wide variety of interesting and talented people."
Prairie Profile is a weekly feature profiling interesting people in our region. We welcome suggestions from our readers. Call Regional Editor Eloise Ogden at 857-1944 or Managing Editor Kent Olson at 857-1939. Either can be reached at 1-800-735-3229. You also can send e-mail suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.