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2017-04-20 / Headlines

AG Jeff Sessions Announces New Actions In Indian Country

BY BRANDON ECOFFEY
LCT EDITOR

WASHINGTON – In what could be viewed as a surprise, the United States Attorney General’s Office has announced several new initiatives in Indian Country.

The Department of Justice will deploy the Tribal Access Program for National Crime Information (TAP) to 10 tribal sites, beginning on Tuesday with the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana.

“It is paramount that tribal police have the tools they need to fight crime and maintain public safety in their communities,” said Attorney General Sessions. “Law enforcement in Indian Country faces unique practical and jurisdictional challenges and the Department of Justice is committed to working with them to provide greater access to technology, information and necessary enforcement.”

The DOJ will also coordinate a series of listening sessions with tribal law enforcement officials and tribal leaders to ensure “the unique perspective of law enforcement in Indian Country is taken into account”.

The DOJ also announced the creation of the Indian Country Federal Law Enforcement Coordination Group. According to a release from the DOJ the “unprecedented partnership that brings together sworn federal agents and other key law enforcement stakeholders from 12 federal law enforcement components, including: the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Federal Bureau of Investigation Criminal Justice Information Services and Indian Country Crimes Unit, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Office of the Inspector General; The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Justice Services; the Department of Health and Human Services; the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations.”

The actions are intended to combat violent crime in Indian Country and to increase collaboration between law enforcement agencies.

The moves have been praised by the Secretary of Interior, Ryan Zinke.

“I am very happy to see that the Indian Country Federal Law Enforcement Coordination Group has been an integral part of this effort and is focusing on violent crime on Tribal reservations,” Secretary Zinke said. “The Federal Government provides significant public safety resources to Indian Country, with numerous departments and agencies delivering and supporting law enforcement services.

The actions come on the heels of a multiple proses cuts in funding to services in Indian Country by the White House.

“For the past two years, we have leveraged tribal, federal, state and local criminal justice partnerships to make a sustained effort to increase the number of reporting agencies using the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Michael S. Black. “This tool allows us to make more accurate comparisons of Indian Country crime to other non-Indian country communities.”

(Contact Brandon Ecoffey at editor@lakotacountrytimes.com)

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