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US attorney from ND to head Native American group

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- The U.S. attorney from North Dakota has been appointed to lead a Department of Justice group that aims to improve public safety on American Indian reservations.

Timothy Purdon has been named chairman of the Native American Issues Subcommittee. The group is made up of 30 U.S. attorneys and is responsible for making policy recommendations to Attorney General Eric Purdon.

Purdon replaces Brendan Johnson, the U.S. attorney for South Dakota.

Sanford Coats, a U.S. attorney in Oklahoma, was appointed vice chairman of the group.

Purdon says improving public safety in reservation communities in North Dakota has been a "top priority" since he took over as U.S. attorney, and he looks forward to working on Native American issues at the national level.