Oglala Lakota Tribe sues federal government on law enforcement shortage

PINE RIDGE—The Oglala Sioux Tribe is suing the federal government for failing to provide adequate law enforcement on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

The lawsuit, filed this week is against the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and added some high level officials in the Interior department alleging the inadequacy, created a “public safety crisis” on the reservation.

Tribal officials say Pine Ridge with its three million acres of land has 33 police officers and eight criminal investigators while handling 133,700 emergency calls last year. At any given time, the officers would have six to eight officers at a shift.

The complaint, looking at Rapid City by comparison, operates with 176 police officers, who handle almost 115,000 emergency calls last year.

The tribe stated the BIA is out of compliance, with a standard of having 2.8 officers per 1000 people. For Pine Ridge, that would require at least 140 tribal officers.

Court documents, say officers are working an average of 80 hours of overtime on top of their 160 scheduled hours and don’t have adequate backup when needed for emergency calls.

The tribe is requesting an injunction for the federal government to equip a minimum of 140 law enforcement officers on the reservation and a declaratory judgement stating the federal government violated its responsibilities to provide adequate law enforcement, according to the lawsuit.

(Contact Joseph Budd at sales2@nativesunnews.today)


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