Thursday, June 26, 2008

Senator Thune, others provide help for Indian Reservation crime woes

From a news release:

Senator John Thune [R-South Dakota] praised the commencement of Operation Dakota Peacekeeper, a Bureau of Indian Affairs project to increase the presence of law enforcement on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. This project was requested by Senator Thune and others in response to crime rates on the reservation, which are six times the national average. The Senator believes that this is a good proactive step toward reducing crime while giving tribal leaders and members a stake in the safety of the reservation. Operation Dakota Peacekeeper will supplement the local police force with additional BIA personnel. Victim assistance services will also be made available.

This operation builds on the continuing work done by Senator Thune on tribal justice. In February, the U.S. Senate passed S. 1200, the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, which included Senator Thune's amendment to require a Government Accountability Office study of the tribal justice systems of North and South Dakota. Also, in March, the Senate passed the Fiscal Year 2009 Budget Resolution, which included Senator Thune’s amendment to authorize additional funding for police and prosecutors to address the growing problem of crime on American Indian reservations. He also recently testified before the Indian Affairs Committee concerning a bipartisan tribal justice bill he is working on with his colleagues. Senator Thune has also reached out to South Dakota tribal leaders and others to get their feedback regarding the draft legislation.

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