Friday, June 28, 2024 - 10:00 am

BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum today announced that North Dakota Highway Patrol Col. Brandon Solberg plans to retire from law enforcement Nov. 30 after nearly 6½ years as superintendent of the Highway Patrol. Solberg has accepted another position in state government as director of the Facility Management Division in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), effective Dec. 1.

Solberg has served as Highway Patrol superintendent since July 1, 2018, after being appointed by Burgum to succeed Col. Michael Gerhart. Solberg joined the Highway Patrol in January 1999, spending his first six years as a state trooper stationed in Grafton and Grand Forks before being promoted to sergeant and becoming a shift supervisor in Fargo. He was promoted to lieutenant in 2007, relocating to headquarters in Bismarck. He advanced to captain in 2011 and was promoted to major and chief of staff in 2014, managing the patrol’s budget and directly or indirectly supervising approximately 200 team members. 

“North Dakota is a safer place to live and drive because of Col. Solberg’s highly capable leadership and nearly three decades of exemplary service in law enforcement,” Burgum said. “His unwavering commitment to public safety and willingness to embrace new technology and processes to enhance the effectiveness of the Highway Patrol have served our citizens well. We are deeply grateful for his service and appreciate his help in ensuring a smooth leadership transition in the Highway Patrol as he transitions to his new role with OMB.”

As superintendent, Solberg guided the Highway Patrol through several major initiatives and programs, including implementation of the Vision Zero traffic safety initiative that was launched in 2018 by the Highway Patrol, North Dakota Department of Transportation and Department of Health and Human Services. Annual traffic crash fatalities in North Dakota decreased to 98 in 2022, the lowest total in 20 years. 

Under Solberg’s leadership, the Highway Patrol also:

  • Created a dedicated criminal interdiction team consisting of officers who focus on intercepting criminal activity such as drug and human trafficking on state highways. 
  • Signed agreements with the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation and Spirit Lake Nation to improve emergency response times by allowing the closest available officer – tribal or non-tribal – to respond to a call for service until the agency with primary jurisdiction arrives and takes the lead. 
  • Started an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program to help measure and process crash scenes quickly and to assist in other areas such as search and rescue efforts. 
  • Launched a crash assistance program, which consists of two members who focus on victim services and employee wellness. 
  • Signed the 30x30 pledge, a nationwide initiative to increase representation of women in law enforcement recruit classes to 30% by the year 2030. 

“It has been an incredible honor and privilege to serve as a member of Gov. Burgum’s cabinet, and I appreciate him entrusting me with leading the highly professional team at the North Dakota Highway Patrol,” Solberg said. “Their commitment to public safety and providing the best law enforcement services possible is a benefit to North Dakota residents and visitors alike, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to have served with them. I look forward to joining Facility Management and continuing my service to the citizens of our great state.”

Solberg will succeed current Facility Management Director John Boyle, who is retiring after 22 years in the role. Burgum expressed his deepest gratitude to Boyle for his longtime service and assisting in the transition, and wished him all the best in retirement.

The Highway Patrol superintendent position will be posted in early fall.