Thune seeks Obama support for law enforcement funds
Sen. John Thune (R-South Dakota) is asking Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to support funding for the Emergency Fund for Indian Health and Safety.

Congress created the $2 billion fund last year for law enforcement, health and water programs in Indian Country. Thune says a portion of the fund can be used to address crime on reservations.

"While no funding has been appropriated yet, I am actively working with my Senate colleagues to ensure it is," Thune said in a letter to Salazar. "I am hopeful that this additional funding stream can be used by the [Interior] Department to help reduce crime on our nation’s reservations."

Thune suggested Salazar could use the money to replicate "Operation Dakota Peacekeeper" across Indian Country. The Bureau of Indian Affairs sent additional officers to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation last year, a surge that reduced high crime rates.

"Now, almost a half a year later, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is still reaping the benefits of a safer community," Thune said in the letter.

The $2 billion Emergency Fund for Indian Health and Safety is to be spent over $5 years. The Senate Indian Affairs Committee is seeking $400 million for the fund for fiscal year 2010.

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