Today, U.S. Representatives Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) and Tom O'Halleran (D-AZ-01) introduced the Tribal Capital for Operations Promoting Safety (COPS) Actto improve tribal law enforcement agencies and operations through additional training, compensation, and equipment procurement.
"Indian Country does not have the resources needed to combat crime -- currently, there is one officer to every 1,333 persons on the Pine Ridge Reservation," said Johnson. "Our tribal communities struggle with slow emergency response times -- as long as thirty minutes -- as well as officer retainment. The Tribal COPS Act will provide these law enforcement agencies with resources to improve the safety and security of their communities."
"For too long, tribal police departments across Indian Country have dealt with staffing shortages and a lack of appropriate resources to address public safety concerns," said Representative Tom O'Halleran (D-AZ-01). "In Arizona's First District, the Navajo Nation alone is larger than the state of West Virginia and has only a few hundred officers. That's why I'm proud to introduce the Tribal COPS Act with Representative Johnson, my colleague across the aisle, to increase funding for tribal police departments to recruit, hire, and train skilled officers."
The Tribal Capital for Operations Promoting Safety (COPS) Act would:
Establish a grant program to increase capabilities of tribal law enforcement agencies
The grant formula will take the following into account:
Size of tribal lands
Population of tribal lands
Average response time of the law enforcement agency to an emergency call
Grants may be used to:
Compensate officers, including retention bonuses
Provide housing stipends to officers principally residing within tribal lands
Procure, operate, maintain facilities for use by officers