Policing on American Indian Reservations [January 2001]   [open pdf - 110KB]

"Policing in Indian Country is strikingly different from that of the municipal police department with which most of us are familiar. Crime is increasing dramatically in Indian Country, but little is known about how the unique context of Indian Country ---the culture, geography, and economy, for example ---affects law enforcement policies and practices. This article summarizes the findings from the authors' exploratory report on policing on American Indian reservations. The superficial description of Indian Country law enforcement shows a rural environment with rural-style policing. Imagine an area the size of Delaware, but with a population of only 10,000, that is patrolled by no more than three police officers and as few as one officer at any one time ---a level of police coverage that is much lower than in other areas of the country. Most departments are administered by tribes (through a contract between the tribe and the Bureau of Indian Affairs [BIA]), but many are administered directly by BIA. An important distinction is that these communities have a 'government-to-government' relationship with the United States. Although tribes control a narrower scope of policy than do nations such as Germany and Brazil, they have significantly more scope for policy-making than do cities or even U.S. States. Indian nations adopt constitutions for their societies, write civil laws to regulate conduct and commerce within their territorial boundaries, and enforce those laws with their own judicial systems."

Report Number:
NCJ 186185
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
National Criminal Justice Reference Service: http://www.ncjrs.gov/
Media Type:
National Institute of Justice Journal (January 2001), p.3-7
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