The House today is taking up HB 111, the Coeur d'Alene Tribe's policing legislation; Rep. Kathy Sims, R-Coeur d'Alene, is now introducing the bill. The tribe last year dropped proposed legislation when just as lawmakers were getting ready to pass it, Benewah County agreed to a cross-deputization agreement. Then, after the legislative session ended, the county backed out of the agreement. House Judiciary Chairman Rich Wills, R-Glenns Ferry, traveled to Benewah County in December to try to broker a deal, and an agreement again was reached - and again the county backed out. The new bill, HB 111, wouldn't require the county to be involved; tribal police officers could function as police officers under state law if they had all the required training and insurance and cite all non-tribal criminal offenders into state court, not tribal court.
Since Benewah County suspended its cross-deputization agreement with the tribal police in 2007, tribal officers have had to detain people they stop until a county or state officer shows up to take over the arrest; if they don't show up in time, the offender goes free. “This is a public safety issue,” Sims told the House. The tribe has continued to have a successful cross-deputization deal with Kootenai County. Sims noted that under federal law, the tribe could federalize its officers and cite non-Indians into federal court; it doesn't want to do so, and instead wants to operate under state law.