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Agent in Charge shares FBI priorities for Salt Lake office

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) Terrorism, human trafficking, and crimes on reservations. These are some of the issues FBI  agents here deal with.

And on Tuesday, the new Agent in Charge at the Salt Lake Division sat down with us to talk about his priorities to cut into those crimes.

“The crime is here and we’re trying to address the crime with our state and local partners.” 

Paul Haertel is the new Agent in Charge in the FBI’s Salt Lake office. He says there are newer crimes to deal with here in Utah.

“Cyber is the up and coming issue that we’re going to have to deal with. We’re developing a cyber capability with all the companies coming in.”

And he says, there is an endless list of crimes that have been happening here for some time.

“We’re working on crimes against children. We’re working on violent crimes and organized crime cases. On terrorism cases. Espionage cases. And intelligence cases.  We run the gamut in Salt Lake and in the division.” 

Haertel has been with the FBI for nearly 24 years and has busted bad guys and solved crimes around the country and overseas.  

“The best part about being in the FBI is that you are helping people on a daily basis.” Haertel is a former Navy Seal and has worked in North Carolina, Kentucky, Salt Lake City, and Prague.

As he returns to the beehive state and takes the lead in the Salt Lake Division, which includes Utah, Montana, and Idaho,  he is focusing on all crimes, but especially crimes on Indian Reservations.

“A lot of that work now is reactionary – so we react to the complaint. I would like to find a way to make it a little more proactive.”

There are 19 reservations in his jurisdiction and he has agents assigned to all of them.

“We’re not only hoping to talk to the law enforcement but talk to the leaders of the reservations as well.”  

And his message to the masses the FBI is busy because criminals here are busy as well. 

 “If you can think of a crime that fits what you expect an FBI agent to be working on it’s going on in the state of Utah.” 

Haertel says another crime the bureau is focused on these days is economic espionage. He shared a story about law enforcement finding a couple of men from Asia – out in a Midwest cornfield digging up and stealing hybrid corn seeds. He says the men were shipping them to their home country to steal the hybrid technology. He says that is just an example of the things the FBI deals with in addition to terrorism, violent crimes, and counterintelligence. 

He also says the FBI needs the public’s help. He says if see something that just doesn’t look right we should contact the FBI or our local police to let them know. To contact the FBI, call: 1-800-CALLFBI (225-5324) or go to  https://www.fbi.gov/tips 

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