Law | National

Alcohol fuels most calls to Oglala Sioux Tribe's police officers





The Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota has a police force of just 35 officers to patrol a reservation that's larger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined.

The tribe combats crime and drugs on a regular basis. But 80 percent of the 200,000 calls that officers receive every year are related to one thing -- alcohol.

“They go into detox or a holding cell for 8 hours then get an hour of community service,” officer Becky Sotherland told MSNBC. “Sometimes they’re out before your shift is over, causing trouble.”

Alcohol is banned on the Pine Ridge Reservation. But it's easy to get in border towns like Whiteclay, Nebraska, or from bootleggers.

Tribal members voted to legalize alcohol sales but implementation remains in limbo due to litigation in tribal court. Revenues could be used for treatment and health programs.

Get the Story:
Law and disorder on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (MSNBC 5/29)