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Fort Peck Tribes finally gain access to federal criminal databases

A patch representing the Fort Peck Tribes Department of Justice and Law. Photo: antefixus21

The Fort Peck Tribes are among the latest in Indian Country to gain access to federal criminal databases.

Law enforcement on the reservation in Montana began using the databases on Tuesday, The Associated Press reported. Officers believe the information will help them address drug trafficking and other crimes.

“Suddenly we saw a lot of strange and new faces — people we didn’t know. It was just tough to find out anything about them,” Ken Trottier, the supervisory criminal investigator at the Fort Peck Department of Justice and Law, told the AP. “This is going to be our way of staying that one step ahead.”

The Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 required the Department of Justice to open the databases to Indian Country. It took five years before the first tribes were selected for a pilot program during the Obama administration.

Fort Peck was among a new group of tribes selected by the Obama administration in December as the program expanded. It's not clear why Attorney General Jeff Sessions waited more than three months announce them but the Trump administration has sought to portray itself as tough on crime.

The Tribal Law and Order Act was supported by Republicans and Democrats in Congress but Sessions, who represented Alabama in the U.S. Senate, was not a co-sponsor of the bill. He opposed the Violence Against Women Act because he said he had a "big concern" about recognizing tribal jurisdiction over non-Indians.

Read More on the Story:
Sessions expands program to combat crime on tribal lands (AP 4/18)

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