If locals want to stop drugs and rein in reckless four-wheelers, they’ve got to work with police.
That’s the message being sent out at public meetings this summer by the handful of law enforcement officials who work on the Coeur d’Alene Indian reservation.
“You’ve got to stand up and shove back,” said Jack Hale, criminal investigator for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. “We need the public’s help on this. We cannot do it ourselves.”
About 35 people attended a BIA meeting last Wednesday in Worley. Another meeting is planned for DeSmet and Tensed in August.
The meetings, Hale said, are to find out what’s on people’s minds, and to urge them to come forward with information. Spokane drug dealers have turned up on the reservation, he said. And there was a recent rash of burglaries around Plummer.
“More information comes from you people than we can gather in a month’s time,” Kootenai County sheriff’s Deputy Wes Krueger said at the Worley meeting.
Hale and Krueger are suggesting that residents form neighborhood watch programs. The groups watch for local crime, document it and report it.
“We’ll help out in any way we can, if the community wants to do it,” Hale said. Krueger handed out leaflets on the programs.
Several people seemed ready to sign up. Many were upset at children speeding along local roads in four-wheeled motorcycles.
“I’m ready to get some spikes,” said one man.
“You can’t hang your clothes on a clothesline to dry because the kids are raising all this dust,” said a woman in the back.
Hale said the bikes must be licensed in order to drive on a road. The officers urged people to sign complaints against the four-wheelers, or to videotape them.
Former Democratic state legislator Gino White, who now heads the tribe’s housing office, offered his office space and equipment to anyone interested in forming a neighborhood watch.
Hale said he thinks some people will form the groups.
“There’s enough of them getting teed off,” he said.