The Utah Department of Public Safety says it will begin de-emphasizing criminal investigations along the Wasatch Front, instead focusing the state's investigative resources on rural Utah.

The reorganization of the Narcotics and Liquor Law Enforcement Bureau, the Organized Crime and Criminal Information Bureau and the Medicaid Fraud Bureau into the Division of Investigations will directly benefit smaller financially strapped law enforcement agencies throughout the state, said Michael Hanks, the new division director."Specific problems will be better addressed," he said. "Before, we had three bureaus working independently. Now we'll have one coordinated agency with everyone together and trading information."

Hanks said the state's investigative resources will be available to rural Utah only upon their request, and narcotics investigations will continue to be a top priority with the new division.

"The division is not in the same nature of a state police to usurp the authority of local sheriffs and police chiefs," said Public Safety Commissioner John T. Nielsen. "Rather, it is to be available upon request with our expertise and manpower."

Hanks formerly served as bureau chief of the Organized Crime Bureau.