Editorial: Public suffers in Coeur d'Alene policing dispute
"A stubborn clash was reignited last week between the Coeur d’Alene Indian Tribe and Benewah County over tribal police authority. It may look like a routine he-said-she-said standoff, but the evidence convincingly favors the tribe.

The question is, who altered an agreement that was worked out in a short, tense negotiation intended to avoid legislative intervention?

The tribe says Benewah County officials made dozens of substantive changes before finally returning a signed agreement to the tribe, which had signed it right after it was presented a month earlier to the House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee. Benewah County Prosecutor Doug Payne contends the tribe made the changes.

Minutes of the committee’s March 17 meeting record that Idaho Sheriff’s Association lawyer Michael Kane told committee members an agreement on cross-deputization had been reached and “will be signed by all elected officials.”

Copies were distributed to the committee; tribal leaders signed within days and sent it to county commissioners, who had it roughly a month with no public complaint about any alterations.

A couple of credible, independent witnesses agree that the document signed by county commissioners was substantially revised. State Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake, the committee chairman, is one. Executive Director Vaughn Killeen of the Sheriff’s Association is another.

We can see why the tribe is furious, but the real victim of the dispute is the public, which has the most to lose when law and order are undermined."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Tribe-county kerfuffle’s real victim is the public (The Spokesman Review 4/25)

Relevant Documents:
DOC: State and Indian Tribal Law Enforcement Act

Related Stories:
Coeur d'Alene Tribe blasts county on policing agreement (4/22)
Coeur d'Alene Tribe, county agree on law enforcement (3/18)
Counties opposing Coeur d'Alene law enforcement bill (3/5)
Coeur d'Alene Tribe at odds with county over police (02/11)
Coeur d'Alene Tribe law enforcement bill introduced (2/10)
Editorial: Sheriff wrong about Coeur d'Alene policing (2/8)
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