Tribal Police Earn Federal Enforcement Authority in Indian Country

PHOENIX (LAWFUEL) – More than 50 tribal police officers will complete a three-day training course on Friday led by federal prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Phoenix. Those who pass the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs exam to be given on Friday will receive a special law enforcement certificate granting them federal law enforcement authority in Indian Country.

The training was the fifth time that the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona have teamed up to give the training, with approximately 200 tribal and state police officers certified through the program. Officers from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Gila River Indian Community, Hopi Tribe, Hualapai Nation, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, Colorado River Indian Tribes, Ak-Chin Indian Community, Tohono O’odham Nation, the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, and the Kickapoo tribe of Texas, all participated in this week’s training.

The Special Law Enforcement Certificate Card (SLEC) card empowers tribal police to make arrests on federal charges in Indian Country, including misdemeanor and felony violations of federal law. This increases the tools and protection available to officers to address areas as common as fire and dumping misdemeanor violations, to investigations and arrests for felonies such as drug trafficking, child sex abuse and murder.

U.S. Attorney Diane J. Humetewa said of the training program, “This training is a force multiplier, allowing tribal, and state police officers to increase the law enforcement efforts within Indian Country communities. I am grateful to BIA for working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the tribal and state agencies to make this such a success.”

The course includes intensive segments on Indian Country Jurisdiction, Indian Country Crimes (The Major Crimes Act), Federal Court Procedure, Civil Liability, Child Abuse and Child Abuse reporting, Central Violations Bureau, Juvenile Process and Procedure, Drug and Firearm Laws and investigation of gang activity, among other areas.

“To provide for the efficient, effective, and cooperative law enforcement efforts in Indian Country, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs provided their best resources to instruct law enforcement entities applying for federal authority issued by the BIA,” said Special Agent in Charge of the Selanhongva McDonald. “I am grateful to the U.S. Attorney of Arizona for assisting the BIA in providing this valuable training to police officers. Without their assistance, we would have been placed on a waiting list. Now with their assistance, we have held five training sessions since 2007.”

RELEASE NUMBER: 2008-309(SLEC Training)

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