Improvements and Solutions for Law Enforcement on Indian Reservations
WHEREAS, the Great Plains (formerly Aberdeen Area) Tribal Chairman’s Association (GPTCA) is composed of the elected Chairs and Presidents of the 16 Sovereign Indian Tribes and Nations recognized by Treaties with the United States that are within the Great Plains Region of the Bureau of Indian Affairs; and
WHEREAS, the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association was formed to promote the common interests of the Sovereign Tribes and Nations and their members of the Great Plains Region which comprises the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska; and
WHEREAS, the United States has obligated itself both through Treaties entered into with the sovereign Tribes and Nations of the Great Plains Region and through its own federal statutes, the Snyder Act of 1921 as amended, the Indian Self-Determination Act of 1976 as amended, and the Indian Health Care Improvement Act of 1976 as amended; and
WHEREAS, Indian Tribes are governments that pre-date the United States, and through the Indian Commerce, Treaty and Apportionment Clauses and the 14th Amendment, the United States recognizes the status of Indian Tribes as sovereigns and the status of American Indians as tribal citizens;
WHEREAS, in treaties, the United States pledged to protect Indian Tribes, guaranteed the right of Tribal self-government, and has undertaken a trust responsibility to promote the viability of Indian reservations and lands as permanent homelands for tribes;
WHEREAS, The sovereign Tribes and Nation of the GPTCA place high regard on the protection and safety of the Great Plains Regions Tribes and Tribal Members, and
WHEREAS, Every tribe in the Great Plains Region is experiencing serious problems with its law enforcement programs due to some combination of the following: inadequate staffing, lack of officer equipment and training, inadequate police cars, dilapidated jail facilities, lack of cooperation by the BIA and other federal enforcement arms; and
WHEREAS, These problems and the human impact that they have are all documented in testimony that the various Great Plains Tribes and Nations have presented to the House Committee on Resources and the Senate Indian Affairs Committee; and
WHEREAS, this problems will only continue to escalate unless action is taken for improvements for the Tribal Nations; administratively and congressionally, and
WHEREAS, Law Enforcement in the Great Plains Region has been adversely affected by the lack of communication and coordination with the District 1 Headquarters in Aberdeen, South Dakota and by the actions of District 1 management toward Tribal laws Enforcement and detention Officers; and
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, THE Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association hereby supports and requests that Secretary Kempthorne and the Assistant Secretary Artman remedy this situation of no confidence and total lack of a working relationship by the Great Plains Tribes in the District 1 Special Agent in Charge, and
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association request replacement of the District 1 Special Agent in Charge , and
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED; that the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association hereby Calls upon the Congress of the United States to develop remedies and solutions to the critical problems on Indian Reservations:
1. To Consider new Indian law enforcement legislation
2. Directs the BIA to within 6 months of enactment, to conduct a Needs Assessment and work with each federally recognized tribe to establish an adequate number of uniformed police officers required on each reservation, and to include in this plan an adequate number of criminal investigators and specially trained domestic violence, gang, child abuse and drug enforcement officers required for each reservation. To include the Tribes in developing this needs assessment and the BIA and the Tribes shall take into consideration, the size of the reservation, the number of calls for service, unique geographic issues, the multi- jurisdictional issues which exist on the reservation, the availability of incarceration facilities, the number of domestic violence and child abuse instances over the last few years, any drug problems facing the Tribal community, and any existing or necessary agreements the Tribe has with other jurisdictions.
3. Direct the BIA to submit the results of the aforementioned study to Congress within 3 months of completion.
4. Direct the BIA to minimize the gap which exists between the number of officers identified in the aforementioned exercise and the number which exist today by at least 25% per year over the next 4 years and authorizes new appropriations to accomplish this Goal.
5. Require of the BIA that all tribal and BIA police cars shall be replaced before their odometers reach 100,000 miles, and full funding be mandated so police cars are equipped with state of the art video cameras and other necessary equipment for the officer to do their jobs safely so they are better able to serve and protect our citizens.
6. Direct the BIA to work with each federally recognized Tribe to establish a list of minimum equipment which each officer should have and which should be carried in each police car on that reservation and directs the BIA to take the steps necessary to ensure this equipment is acquired and delivered to the local police departments within no more than 1 year. To properly put in place Streamlined Inventory duties, policies and authorities based upon needs so equipment utilized by Officers is up to date and in good working order.
7. Direct the BIA to work with the tribes to establish the minimum number of adult and juvenile corrections officers required on each reservation and to provide the recommended personnel.
8. Direct the BIA to minimize the gap between the number of corrections officers needed and the number which exist today by at least 25% per year over the next 2 years.
9. Direct the BIA to submit within 6 months a comprehensive report on the physical condition of each BIA and tribal jail in use today, to include an estimate of the cost of making the needed repairs and the projected cost of replacing the facility.
10. Direct the BIA to provide a plan and the projected costs for the replacement of those tribal jails which require replacement over the course of the next 5 years.
11. Direct the BIA to work with the Tribes to develop a new more up to date training program for
officers which includes ongoing training in, at a minimum, the following areas: gang activity,
domestic violence, child abuse, narcotics use and sales, disaster, management, handling hazardous waste accidents, and other topics designed to prepare the officer to respond safely and effectively in these and other similar instances. And, Direct the BIA to present its best estimates for the cost of insuring that all tribal and BIA officers receive this training over the course of the next 18 months, to include the costs of ensuring that those officers receive refresher courses on this training at least once every two years.
12. Direct the BIA to work with Regional Training Sites, Colleges and Universities, and recognize
Certification received by Officers from such Training Sites as the South Dakota Certified Training
provided for all Officers. It is a fully certified and free Program. Indian Colleges who provide fully
accredited training for Law Enforcement Officers such as United Tribes Technical College should
be recognized to train Officers. Training would be relevant to fit the Region (not one size fits all)
and provide training so the Officers don’t have to re-locate from families. Artesia is training Border patrols while Tribes have other drastic training needs.
13. To provide adequate medical and other assistance for Officers who experience tremendous emotional, psychological and physical trauma.
14. Directs the BIA to submit an annual progress report to the Congress showing the steps it has
taken to address each of the aforementioned requirements.
15. Directs the Department of Interior, BIA and Congress to restore supervisory authority over law Enforcement Services to the Agency Superintendents in the Great Plains and to the BIA Great Plains Regional Director, as requested in Resolution No. 04-2007 of the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association Official Action dated January 11, 2007.
16. Directors the Department of Interior to increase base funding for salaries and to equalize salaries for Contracted 638 and their counterparts with BIA staffing for Officers, Criminal Investigators and detention Staff. (Current GS-13 for is about $100,000 for Govt. Employee, but the same position for Tribal 638 Contracting is half that salary)
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED; that the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association calls upon each member tribe to appoint one person to work with the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association and the newly created organization: Great Plains Tribal Law Enforcement Association to be Responsible for drafting appropriate Bill language and work with Senator Dorgan's staff and the staff of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and the House Resources Committee to continue to monitor Law Enforcement in the Great Plains and to advance the Directives contained within this Resolution as set forth by all the Tribes of the Great Plains Region.
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED; that the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association hereby directs it’s Chairman to forward a copy of this Resolution to the members of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, the House Resources Committee and the Great Plains Tribal Congressional delegation
With continued monitoring.
NOW, BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED; the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association call upon other Tribes and Indian Nations to join with us in all efforts to improve Law Enforcement on Indian Reservations
Passed with unanimous Vote of the Great Plains Trial Chairman’s Association on Sept. 27, 2007, to be finalized by Tribal Attorneys.
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