March 17, 2010

Senate Indian Affairs Committee to Conduct Oversight Hearing on BIA and Tribal Police Recruitment, Training and Retention

The U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will conduct an oversight hearing at 2:15 PM on Thursday, March 18 to examine Bureau of Indian Affairs (IA) and tribal police recruitment, training and retention issues. The hearing will take place in Room 628, Dirks Senate Office Building, at the U.S. Senate in Washington, DC.
Previous committee hearings have confirmed a longstanding public safety crisis on many Indian reservations, fueled in part by a chronic lack of trained law enforcement officers and other law enforcement resources. The shortage of police officers means Native Americans who are victims of crime often suffer significant delays, waiting hours and even days for a response to a distress call. Only 2,997 police officers patrol 56 million acres of Indian Country. In 2006, the IA estimated tribal police officers were staffed at just 58% of need, which means an additional 1,854 officers would be required to just meet basic adequate staffing levels. However, the IA’S sole training institute, the Indian Police Academy, graduates only 75 new officers each year.
Tribal communities face violent crime rates 2.5 times the national average. On some reservations the violent crime rate reaches 20 times the national average.
Details follow:
WHO: Senators: Senator Byron Doran, Chairman; John Barracks (R-WY), Vice Chairman, and other members of the committee.
Panel I – Wiz Garrotte, Policy Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, Bureau of Indian Affairs. Accompanied by Jason Thompson, Acting Deputy Bureau Director, Bureau of Indian Affairs – Office of Justice Services; Joseph Wright, Assistant Director, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, Office of Artesian Operations, U.S. Department of Homeland Security;
Panel II – Myrna Pearson, Chairwoman, Spirit Lake Nation, Fort Totem, North Dakota, accompanied by Dr. David GI, President, United Tribes Technical College, Bismarck, North Dakota; Ivan Posy, Chair, Eastern Shoshone Tribe, Fort Washable, Wyoming; Gary Gaines, Chief of Police, Sissies Attention Sioux Tribe, Agency Village, South Dakota;
WHAT: Oversight hearing on IA and tribal police recruitment, hiring and retention.
WHEN: 2:15 PM, Thursday, March 18, 2010
WHERE: 628 Dirks Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.
WHY: To examine the longstanding public safety crisis on many Indian reservations, and the chronic lack of trained law enforcement personnel and other law enforcement