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Tribe gets 2nd grant for law enforcement

From The Durango Herald


Tribe gets 2nd grant for law enforcement

Ute Mountain Utes will be able to hire officer

Herald Staff Writer

Article Last Updated; Saturday, October 02, 2010  12:00AM

The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe has received a second grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to beef up law enforcement on the reservation.

The tribe will receive $167,457 to hire a sworn officer to police the reservation for three years. The officer will be employed by the tribe but will work under the purview of the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs.

It is the second federal grant the tribe has received recently to improve law enforcement. The tribe also received $500,000 to purchase software and law-enforcement equipment.

Unlike the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe does not have its own law-enforcement agency. That means the BIA polices the reservation. But the BIA has been understaffed in recent years, so the tribe pays for one additional officer to work with the BIA, said Peter Ortego, general counsel for the Ute Mountain Utes.

When fully staffed, the BIA has 11 officers. So with the two officers the tribe is supplying, the BIA will have 13 officers.

"It's a great improvement," Ortego said.

The tribe also is looking at cross-deputizing the BIA officers so they can arrest people for violating state laws. As it is now, BIA officers can detain people for violating state laws, but they have to call a state or county officer to make the arrest, Ortego said.

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