Column: Sen. Thune takes on law enforcement issues
"When Sen. John Thune ran against then-Sen. Tom Daschle in 2004, he spent a respectable amount of time campaigning on South Dakota's Indian reservations. Four years later, he's back on the reservations. This time, he's working for law and order.
Sen. Thune is a major force behind Operation Dakota Peacekeeper on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, and he's pushing to find a way to make that 90-day law enforcement surge more permanent.
A third of the way into Operation Dakota Peacekeeper, which added 20 police officers to the 10 that covered Standing Rock's 2.3 million acres, Thune is pleased with the results and worried about what will happen after the 90 days are over.
The Standing Rock reservation, which straddles the North Dakota-South Dakota border, has a crime rate six times the national average. A year ago, that was enough to make it America's most crime-ridden Indian reservation. That is no longer the case. Other reservations have surpassed it and Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Ron His Horse Is Thunder recently told the Senate Indian Affairs Committee that it's not because crime on his reservation has dropped. Rather, crime on other reservations has spiked.
During a telephone interview after a visit to Standing Rock, Thune was clearly shaken by the harsh realities of what crime hath wrought for too many reservation residents."
Get the Story:
Denise Ross: Thune: ‘I don't want to be guilty of benign neglect’ on reservations
(The Black Hills Pioneer 7/9)
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