Oneida Tribe bucks criminal problems and hires more officers than national average

The press reports correctly that American Indian reservations continue to lack adequate police protection, despite federal and tribal efforts.

High turnover fueled by poor pay and high stress have worsened an epidemic of crime in tribal nations officials told the Senate Indian Affairs Committee on March 18.

About 3,000 police officers — a force smaller than the police department of Washington, D.C. — patrol 56 million acres of Indian Country. That’s barely half the level to meet adequate staffing levels, according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs and has contributed to violent crime rates that are 2½ times the national average.

But one value of tribal economic development is demonstrated by the Oneida Tribe of Indians in Wisconsin. This tribal government has operated its own police department for 25 years and, according to its police chief, has “managed to stay above” the problems reported to the Senate committee.

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