Eye On Boise

TUESDAY, SEPT. 6, 2011, 9:35 A.M.

Idaho tribes look to federalize their police to bridge jurisdiction gaps

Coeur d'Alene Tribal Police Officer John Dressler hands Renae Stentz the paperwork after her boat passed a safety inspection on Aug. 26 at Mowry State Park on Lake Coeur d’Alene. (Colin Mulvany)
Coeur d'Alene Tribal Police Officer John Dressler hands Renae Stentz the paperwork after her boat passed a safety inspection on Aug. 26 at Mowry State Park on Lake Coeur d’Alene. (Colin Mulvany)

Federal authorities say jurisdictional gaps are hampering law enforcement in Indian country, so they're working with three Idaho tribes, including the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, to federalize tribal police officers and let them issue federal citations to non-Indians on the reservation for certain minor offenses. Once the lengthy process is completed - likely in time for next summer's boating season - non-tribal members who are boating on the southern third of Lake Coeur d'Alene and violate boating laws could get tickets issued by tribal officers and backed by the federal court. The southern third of the lake belongs to the tribe; the U.S. Supreme Court decided that in 2001.

The other two tribes working with the U.S. Attorney's office and the federal courts to federalize their officers are the Nez Perce and the Shoshoshone-Bannocks; you can read my full story here.




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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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