NY Times editorial on Tribal Law and Order Act

The Times had this to say, in part, about the recently enacted law:

“The notion of only one federal patrolman available to police a 2.3 million-acre beat presents ludicrously impossible odds for law enforcement. Yet that was often the case on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North and South Dakota in 2008, when the rate of violent crime was more than eight times the national average and the police force totaled nine members.

The Sioux reservation is part of a centuries-old scandal in which the federal government has neglected its treaty obligation to ensure law enforcement on the homelands of Native Americans. Violent crime rates remain more than twice the national average across the reservations, with women heavily victimized by rape and domestic violence. . . .

The Tribal Law and Order Act, championed by Senator Dorgan and signed last week by President Obama, requires the Department of Justice to create a new unit to track and deal with declining prosecutions. It gives tribal police more authority — they can now be deputized to enforce federal laws. It also allows them to arrest non-Indian suspects, and tribal courts will be able to sentence criminals for up to three years, instead of the present one year. The law will have to be matched with strong budget support to increase the numbers of federal and tribal officers. . . . .”

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