Colorado, South Dakota US Attorneys Join Forces to Strengthen Public Safety on Indian Reservations

PIERRE, SOUTH DAKOTA (LAWFUEL) – U.S. Attorney Troy A. Eid of Colorado will join the Honorable Martin J. Jackley, U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota, to teach qualified tribal, state and local officers from South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, and North Dakota tomorrow and Wednesday. This special two-day “Criminal Justice Country” training, hosted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs-U.S. Department of the Interior, will be held at the State of South Dakota’s Law Enforcement Center in Pierre.

The goal of this training is to strengthen public safety in Indian reservations in South Dakota and neighboring states. There are nine federal recognized Indian tribes in South Dakota. Qualified law enforcement officers who complete the class and pass the BIA’s Special Law Enforcement Commission (“SLEC”) exam will be eligible to be federally deputized in order to enforce federal law in Indian Country. Once federally deputized by the BIA, officers holding SLEC cards can make federal arrests – for instance, in cases where a non-Indian defendant commits a violent crime against a Native American victim on an Indian reservation.

“Strengthening criminal justice on Indian reservations throughout the United States demands that U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the BIA partner with sovereign Indian tribes and nations as never before,” said Colorado U.S. Attorney Troy A. Eid. “Colorado is honored to support South Dakota to help qualified tribal officers gain access to the tools needed to enforce federal law on their own reservations.”

“This training strengthens cooperation among police officers responsible for public safety both in Indian Country and in the communities near Indian Country,” said South Dakota U.S. Attorney Martin J. Jackley. “I am grateful to the Colorado U.S. Attorney’s Office and to the BIA for their assistance in this critical mission. I am also grateful to the dedicated officers attending the training from tribal and municipal police departments, sheriff’s offices, and the State of South Dakota.”

For the first time, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA) in Washington, DC, is providing financial support for the BIA’s SLEC training. In addition to U.S. Attorneys Jackley and Eid, the faculty in Pierre this week includes:

Assistant U.S. Attorney Roxane Perruso of the District of Colorado’s Special Prosecutions Section, who coordinates Colorado’s Project Safe Childhood Program;

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark Vargo and Gregg Peterman of South Dakota; and Bernadine Martin, an Assistant District Attorney with the McKinley County District Attorney’s Office in Gallup, New Mexico. Martin, a veteran prosecutor who handles violent crimes against children and women, is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation.

This will be the eighth Criminal Justice in Indian Country cross-deputation program since February 2007 involving the Colorado U.S. Attorney’s Office. Since launching a nationally recognized cross-deputation pilot program in partnership with the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, Colorado’s U.S. Attorney’s Office has successfully taught more than 100 state, local and tribal law enforcement officers in Southwestern Colorado, plus another 60 local and tribal officers from Alaska, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Michigan, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, and Washington.

To deliver this training, the Colorado U.S. Attorney’s Office has previously partnered with the National Congress of American Indians, and with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Weed and Seed Program.

Colorado law enforcement entities that have been trained as part of the U.S. Attorney’s Office pilot program include:

Archuleta County Sheriff’s Department
City of Cortez Police Department
City of Durango Police Department
Colorado Bureau of Investigation
Colorado State Patrol
Colorado Division of Wildlife
LaPlata County Sheriff’s Department
Montezuma County Sheriff’s Department
Southern Ute Indian Tribe/Division of Gaming
Southern Ute Police Department
Southern Ute Indian Tribe/Wildlife Rangers
Town of Bayfield Marshal’s Office
Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribe/Wildlife Rangers

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