Posts tagged: cross-deputization
The long-running dispute between Benewah County and the Coeur d’Alene Tribe was partially resolved earlier this month. Sheriff Robert Kirts deputized five tribal police officers. The action came two months after an effort by the tribe to pass a state law that would give tribal officers authority over non-tribal members failed. Benewah County lobbied against the legislation, which generated considerable news coverage at the time. “I deputized five of their officers who I know are good officers and work well with our officers,” Sheriff Kirts said. Tribal officers were deputized by the county for several years before Sheriff Kirts cancelled the agreement when tribal officers refused to comply with his instructions/Dan Hammes, St. Maries Gazette-Record. More here.
Question: What do you make of this development?
Marc Stewart: All of the Tribal Police Department has been to Idaho Peace Officers and Standards and Training and graduated. They are in good standing and you could verify this easily by talking to the Idaho POST. As a result, they are able to enforce state laws in Kootenai County. You can also confirm that with Rocky Watson. The Tribe’s first choice was a cross deputization agreement with Benewah County. That failed numerous times after Benewah County backed out of two deals, including one in December. You can confirm that with Rep. Rich Wills. The Tribe’s second choice was the state law. Since that failed today, the tribe will seriously consider going the federal route. It’s not saber rattling. It’s not being a bully. It’s just a fact of life that people should prepare themselves for.
Question: Should the Coeur d'Alene Tribe look to a federal solution to protect its citizens with law enforcement on the Coeur d'Alene Reservation?
Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, told the House, “I stand here with a heavy heart today to debate this bill.” He said some have accused people from his county of being racist. “I'll tell you that's nothing more than hate speech and that is not true, it is definitely not true. It's highly offensive to me and to the people of my county,” he said. He told the House, “It's hard for me to debate this bill because both the county members and the tribal members are my constituents. And the very reason that we're here is because the tribal council wants us to be here.” Harwood said he opposes HB 111, the tribal policing bill, because, “This bill will give the power to an entity that is not accountable to the people that it has the power over. That flies right in the face of everything this country's about, doesn't it? It sure seems like it to me”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Question: Does anyone out there seriously think that Rep. Dick Harwood gives a rip about his constituents in the Coeur d'Alene Indian Tribe?
Under this year’s version of the proposed legislation, tribal cops would not be accountable to the sheriff n or any other elected official. Which is why the Spokane newspaper’s endorsement of this proposal is so mind-boggling. One would think the people who write editorials at the region’s dominant newspaper would understand better than anyone how critical it is that cops be accountable to voters. Cops and their misdeeds (perceived or real) have been the dominant story of the last five years in Spokane County/Dan Hammes, St. Maries Gazette Record. More here.
Question: What do you think of the point made by Publisher Dan Hammes of the St. Maries newspaper that tribal police must be accountable to someone under a cross-deputization program?
The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office and the Coeur d’Alene Tribe have reached an additional agreement that provides enhanced law enforcement services to both Tribal and non-Tribal members. This most recent agreement builds on the existing cross-deputization and mutual aid agreement between the Sheriff’s Department and the Coeur d’Alene Tribe ensures cross- deputized Kootenai County officers have reciprocity to enforce tribal warrants on and off the reservation just as cross-deputized Coeur d’Alene Tribal police officers can enforce state warrants. More below.
Question: Why does the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department get along so well with Coeur d’Alene Tribal police and the Benewah County SD doesn’t?
RE: St. Maries rejects Coeur d’Alene Tribe offer of police help/Dan Hammes, St. Maries Gazette-Record
Sgt. Christie Wood, Coeur d’Alene police spokesman and Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations member: “This is so disappointing and sure to be a discussion topic at our next KCTFHR meeting. It is a issue that need not be. But it appears that years of hatred toward the tribe has fueled this. No doubt the Mayor faced incredible poticial pressure. I am sorry for her that she was put in this position, but the citizens are the losers here. It does appear that she is open to future discussion with all parties involved so good for her. My experience is that when a person needs the help of law enforcement they are very grateful to see an officer arrive. They do not care what agency they represent. I guess it is different in Benewah. However if the Sheriff’s Department and local government would put aside their differences, and embrace the help of the tribal officers the citizens would begin to feel comfortable with them assisting.
The matter is closed. That is the decision by Mayor Tami Holdahl relating to an offer by the Coeur d’Alene Tribe to the city of St. Maries to assist with law enforcement when needed. “After review of the contract between the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and the city of Plummer and the county of Kootenai, I am tabling any further discussion regarding the “mutual aid” and “cross deputization” agreements. The city is willing to meet and work with Benewah County and the Coeur d’Alene Tribe to come to an agreement that will be beneficial for all parties,” Mayor Holdahl wrote in a memo last week. Keith Hutcheson, chief of the tribal police department, met with the city council last month and offered the help, at no cost to the city. The offer was consistent with a previous agreement the tribe had with the city/Dan Hammes, St. Maries Gazette-Record. More here.
Question: Are you surprised that St. Maries backed away from the free police help offered by the Coeur d’Alene Tribe?
SR Opinion: “But Benewah County Sheriff Bob Kirts (pictured) has canceled the agreement, gutting tribal officers’ authority in areas ranging from boating infractions to domestic violence on the reservation, where six out of seven residents are nonmembers. It shouldn’t take the Legislature to solve this. It shouldn’t take mediators and arbitrators. It should take nothing more than the same kind of goodwill and respect for public safety that has worked well between the tribe and Kootenai County. As the minutes from that March 17 legislative committee meeting so hopefully put it, ‘Bringing the parties together was in everyone’s interest.’ Someone tell that to the Benewah County commissioners.” More here.
Question: Do you agree with the SR editorial board that Benewah County commissioners and Sheriff Bob Kirts are to blame for the cross-deputization agreement falling apart?
Benewah County officials have apparently gone back on their word to sign the cross deputization agreement reached with the Coeur d’Alene Tribe that was presented to the Idaho House Judiciary and Rules Committee in March. Instead, earlier this week, county officials sent the Tribe a signed copy of a new version of a cross deputization agreement that contained more than 50 changes to the original and revived disagreements over key provisions that had already been settled in prior discussions. Repeated requests by the Tribe to be informed of any proposed changes were ignored by the county. “I am extremely disappointed with this new document in front of me,” Coeur d’Alene Tribe Chairman Chief Allan said. “It is not what we agreed to”/Spokesman Marc Stewart, Coeur d’Alene Indian Tribe. More here.
Question: Anyone surprised that Benewah made so many changes to the proposed agreement before sending it to the tribe? And that the tribe is miffed? Were legislators foolish to not force Benewah County to act in goodwill?
Benewah County Sheriff Bob Kirts, left, greets Rep. Mack Shirley, R-Rexburg, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, after the committee on Wednesday agreed to hold the Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s law enforcement legislation due to a new cross-deputization agreement between the tribe and Benewah County
Benewah County and the Coeur d’Alene Tribe have reached an “agreement in principle” on cross-deputization, just in time to head off state legislation that was up for a vote in a House committee this afternoon. “I think it’s a good deal, and I think the committee was helpful in bringing the parties together,” said Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. “I think sometimes it takes legislation to bring all parties together. They do have an agreement in principle, and I think it’s a great outcome for public safety.” Helo Hancock, legislative director for the tribe, told the committee, “We do have a deal,” and asked the panel to hold the tribe’s legislation in committee. The vote was unanimous. More here.