Colorado, South Dakota U.S. Attorneys to Provide Law Enforcement Training

Leaders from California to Connecticut, representing more than 30 Tribes and agencies, to take ‘Criminal Justice in Indian Country’ class

PHOENIX (LAWFUEL)– For the second straight year, Colorado’s U.S. Attorney’s Office – in partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Dakota and the Bureau of Indian Affairs-Indian Police Academy – will provide criminal justice training to tribal, state and local law enforcement officers at the annual convention of the National Congress of American Indians.

This “Criminal Justice in Indian Country” training will be held today and tomorrow at the 65th NCAI National Convention at the Phoenix Convention Center. A capacity class of 75 law enforcement officers from across the country, representing more than 30 different tribal, state and local agencies, have registered to attend.

The goal of the free training is to strengthen public safety on Indian reservations. At the conclusion of the course, the BIA Indian Police Academy will administer the Special Law Enforcement Commission (SLEC) exam. Qualified law enforcement officers who pass this exam, and whose agencies have entered into SLEC agreements with the BIA, will be allowed to make federal arrests and enforce federal law within Indian Country – for instance, in cases where a non-Indian defendant commits a violent crime against a Native American victim on an Indian reservation.

Instructors for this year’s course at NCAI include Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jim Allison (Criminal Division Chief, Colorado) and Mark Vargo (South Dakota); Colorado U.S. Attorney Troy Eid; Detective-Sergeant Jesse Crabtree of the Fort McDowell-Yavapai Nation; and Tom Woolworth, Chief of Training, BIA Indian Police Academy, Artesia, New Mexico. NCAI is providing facilities and logistical support for the training itself. Topics include:

* Criminal justice and Indian Country jurisdiction.

* Federal statutory offenses in Indian Country, including the Major Crimes Act and the Indian Country Crimes Act.

* Federal court practice and procedure.

* Tribal, state and local law enforcement partnerships.

* Criminal and civil liability for law enforcement officers.

* Report-writing, investigative techniques, witness preparation, and court testimony.

* BIA Special Law Enforcement Commissions (SLECs).

“Improving public safety in Indian Country means thinking ‘outside the box’ to bring tribal, state and local leaders together in practical criminal justice training classes like this,” said U.S. Attorney Troy Eid. “We’re excited to meet, teach and learn from these leaders. Thanks to NCAI, the BIA Indian Police Academy, and U.S. Attorney Marty Jackley of South Dakota for making it happen.”

“This cross-deputation training is crucial to the future and protection of Indian Country,” said NCAI President Joe A. Garcia. “NCAI is delighted to host this year’s training at our Annual Convention, and we greatly appreciate the U.S. Attorneys’ efforts to train tribal police officers so they can effectively protect their communities and assist tribal officers on safety issues such as border protection and the fight against Meth.”

“This training creates the opportunity for a truly innovative approach to law enforcement in the communities in and around Indian country,” South Dakota U.S. Attorney Marty Jackley said. “By fostering strong, cooperative relationships among officers from local, state, tribal and federal agencies, we are able to prevent criminals from exploiting jurisdictional distinctions to escape or delay criminal liability. I am grateful to U.S. Attorney Troy Eid for his leadership in law enforcement training and for the opportunity to again be involved in this effort to make a tangible difference in public safety for the communities we serve.”

The Criminal Justice in Indian Country program originally began as a pilot project last year between Colorado’s U.S. Attorney’s Office, the BIA-Indian Police Academy, and the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, headquartered in Ignacio, Colorado. Since February 2007, Colorado’s U.S. Attorney’s Office has participated in more than a dozen Criminal Justice in Indian Country classes in partnership with the BIA-Indian Police Academy, including classes sponsored last summer by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in New Mexico and South Dakota. More than 300 Tribal leaders, police chiefs, county sheriffs, state troopers, and others from 16 states have been successfully trained through this program to help prevent, investigate and prosecute crime on Indian reservations. After completing the course and taking the SLEC exam, many of these officers have also been federally deputized to enforce federal criminal laws in Indian Country

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