BIA admits filling vacant officers won't meet tribal needs
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The Bureau of Indian Affairs is working to hire more officers in Indian Country but filling all of the vacant positions won't meet tribal needs, a senior official said on Thursday.

The BIA has 191 vacant law enforcement jobs, policy advisor Wizipan Garriott told Senate Indian Affairs Committee. The agency is beefing up recruitment efforts and looking to address its salary scale in an effort to put more people on the ground, Garriott said.

But with crime rates double and even triple the national average, Garriott acknowledged the BIA faces an uphill battle when it comes to law enforcement on reservations. "We will not meet the full needs in Indian Country" even if completely staffed, he said.

"Right now, today, Indian Country has the largest need for law enforcement," added Joseph Wright of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security.

Congress has appropriated $990 million over the past four years for Indian Country law enforcement. Committee members wanted a better idea of where the money is going and why the BIA hasn't hired more officers.

Get the Story:
Turnover negates boost to tribal police efforts (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 3/19)
Not Enough Officers (KOTA 3/19)

Committee Notice:
OVERSIGHT HEARING to examine Bureau of Indian Affairs and tribal police recruitment, training, hiring, and retention (March 18, 2010)

Related Stories:
Witness list for SCIA hearing on law enforcement hiring (3/17)
Senate Indian Affairs hearing on law enforcement hiring (3/11)