Law | National

FBI Series: Facing challenges with reservation law enforcement





"Snow swirled in New Mexico’s high plains as Special Agent Mac McCaskill slowed his vehicle at the bottom of a hill on the Tohajiilee Reservation. He engaged the four-wheel drive before continuing slowly up the steep, bumpy track on his way to deliver a subpoena in a violent assault case.

McCaskill had driven an hour from Albuquerque on this 20-degree morning—typical of the distances that often separate agents from their cases in Indian Country—and now he was knocking on the door of a small wooden structure with one boarded-up window. On the hillside just beyond the dwelling sat a rusted trailer and an outhouse. A young woman holding an infant opened the door and told McCaskill the man he was looking for would be back later.

“On the reservation you can’t just call someone because many people don’t have a phone,” McCaskill said, explaining the challenges of investigating crimes in Indian Country. “Sometimes the best way to get anything done is to knock on doors.”

In the process of knocking on doors and talking to people, McCaskill and other agents working in Indian Country become not just law enforcement officers but advocates for justice and sometimes even role models."

Get the Story:
Journey Through Indian Country (FBI 6/7)

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FBI: One in every four violent crimes comes from a reservation (6/4)