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Oglala Sioux Tribe still seeking federal support for law enforcement

Oglala Sioux Tribe Police Department patrol vehicle (file)
Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety
Oglala Sioux Tribe Police Department patrol vehicle (file)

The Oglala Sioux Tribe has filed a motion to compel the U.S. government to do more to support tribal law enforcement efforts.

This comes after the tribe declared a state of emergency relating to concerning crime trends and a lack of police resources.

The tribal government contends the federal government is not following its treaty obligations in its level of support for tribal law enforcement.

In multiple treaties dating back to 1825, the U.S. government is named as a responsible party in protecting the Oglala Sioux Tribe from so called “bad men.” Interpretations of that treaty place responsibility on federal government to support tribal law enforcement.

A preliminary injunction order was issued by a state court in favor of the tribe. However, the tribe now says federal representatives refuse to comply with the state ruling.

Tribal leaders say 911 calls in the area have increased by over 1,300 calls per officer employed on the reservation. Current funding only budgets for 33 patrol officers serving an area larger than Connecticut.

C.J. Keene is a Rapid City-based journalist covering the legal system, education, and culture