Editorial: Neglecting justice on reservations

"In diverting FBI agents to anti-terrorism activities in the wake of the 2001 attacks, the Bush administration made an important, reasonable adjustment to protect the national security. But the administration has never accepted responsibility for hiring the additional agents needed to cover the bureau's other duties.

The neglect of traditional crime fighting is taking a toll on domestic security against crime. We are all at risk of paying the price for the administration's shortsighted stinginess with federal justice resources, especially for the FBI.

The Seattle P-I reported Monday on the problems Indian reservations and rural areas face trying to fight the scourge of methamphetamine abuse with reduced FBI help. Indian leaders in the Northwest say they used to receive great FBI help.

In the case of the reservations and drug enforcement, there are options. Bureau of Indian Affairs police staffing and contracting dollars could be further increased. The Drug Enforcement Administration can help, and its support has made a big difference not only in cities, but for some rural areas and tribes. U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, a Democrat from Snohomish County, said tribes' options for applying for meth grants would be expanded under a bill the House has sent to the Senate. He also wants an end to a DEA hiring freeze, more emphasis on prevention in all communities and support for an expected administration initiative to Mexican law-enforcement authorities to upgrade drug technology and training."

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Federal Justice: Fund the basics (The Seattle Post-Intelligencer 8/21)