Editorial: Support tribal arrest authority over non-Indians

"The Coeur d'Alene Tribe is supporting proposed legislation that would allow tribal officers to make arrests of non-tribal members on reservation land in Benewah County.

Officials in Benewah County don't like that a bit. They say it's unconstitutional.

We think it's a pity that Benewah and tribal officials get along so poorly that a state law like this becomes necessary. But necessary it appears to be.

The issue is this: When a cross-deputization agreement between the county and tribe broke down in 2006, tribal officers no longer had the authority to arrest non-tribal citizens on the reservation. Keep in mind that 80 percent of those living on the checkerboard reservation are not members of the tribe. In many cases, crimes have been committed against non-tribal members by non-tribal members, yet because there is no cross-deputization agreement in place, the perpetrators have walked away with impunity. Tribal officers have estimated 100 such crimes a month have been taking place. DUI. Assault. Drug dealing. Domestic violence.

The new law would essentially bypass the cross-deputization requirement so tribal officers could arrest anybody committing a crime on tribal lands, regardless of who's a tribal member and who isn't. As part of the proposed law, the tribe would incur all expenses involved with proper training and liability. One of the potentially contentious points is moot: These crimes would be prosecuted at the state level, not tribal courts. Fines and fees would go to the state, not the tribe."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Let officers do their jobs (The Coeur d'Alene Press 2/3)

Earlier Story:
Tribe seeks more authority for police (The Coeur d'Alene Press 1/30)