"The federal government has an obligation to fight crime on the nation's Indian reservations. While many people are frustrated with the vexing problems in Indian Country, giving up isn't an option. The U.S. Justice Department and the Bureau of Indian Affairs must succeed where they have failed in the past to investigate and prosecute violent crime on the nation's reservations, including the five in North Dakota.
U.S. Attorney Eric Holder has directed U.S. attorney's offices to step up investigation of violent crime and the prosecution of its perpetrators. He also has made it a priority to focus on violent crimes against women and children. To those ends, the Justice Department intends to hire 35 additional assistant U.S. attorneys and 12 Federal Bureau of Investigation victim specialists.
On paper, this might look good; however, the 1-year-old Obama administration has yet find a person for the position of U.S. Attorney for North Dakota. Given the inability to fill such an important position in this state, there's a real question about whether additional resources announced by Holder will actually materialize in Indian Country.
Boots on the ground, we've learned in recent years, pay off when it comes to making Indian Country safe. A surge in law enforcement officers on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in 2008 -- Operation Dakota Peacekeeper -- in four months saw 1,000 arrests for juvenile offenses, drugs, crimes against children and domestic violence. People on Standing Rock began to feel safe."
Get the Story:
Editorial: Making Indian Country safe
(The Bismarck Tribune 1/21)
Indian Country Memorandum
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