U.S. Attorney meets with South Dakota tribes on criminal issues

U.S. Attorney for South Dakota Brendan Johnson is holding a town hall meeting today with tribal leaders and others to discuss the Community Prosecution Strategy for Indian Country that he unveiled this summer.

Johnson became the state’s U.S. attorney in October 2009 and immediately targeted crime in Indian Country and held a “tribal listening conference” on the subject Feb. 4 at Oacoma. He believes that a key to making American Indians safer is more effective prosecution, and with increased cooperation between his office and Indian leaders.

“The Community Prosecution Strategy will not solve all of our law enforcement challenges in tribal communities, but it is my hope that it signals a new era of government-to-government relationships and a concerted effort to address public safety cooperatively,” he wrote in a letter outlining the new program.

One assistant U.S. attorney based out of the Rapid City office is spending most of his time in Pine Ridge to work on community prosecutions, while three other attorneys also are focused on Indian issues.

Six other assistant attorneys are based in Pierre but do extensive work with Indian Country cases, according to Johnson.

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