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Eye On Boise

The cross-deputization agreement…

Helo Hancock, legislative director for the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, tells the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, “We do have a deal,” and asks the committee to hold the tribe’s proposed law-enforcement legislation in committee. The panel agreed unanimously. The cross-deputization agreement between the tribe and Benewah County resolves jurisdictional questions that that the tribe contends were allowing criminals to go free on the reservation. (Betsy Russell)
Helo Hancock, legislative director for the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, tells the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, “We do have a deal,” and asks the committee to hold the tribe’s proposed law-enforcement legislation in committee. The panel agreed unanimously. The cross-deputization agreement between the tribe and Benewah County resolves jurisdictional questions that that the tribe contends were allowing criminals to go free on the reservation. (Betsy Russell)

The cross-deputization agreement reached yesterday at 4:30 between Benewah County and the Coeur d'Alene Tribe includes these provisions:

*  Tribal police officers will be sheriff's deputies, and Benewah County deputies and tribal officers will enforce each other's laws
*  Both the tribe and the county agreed to indemnification to allow lawsuits over officer wrongdoing
*  Tribal officers won't cite non-tribal members into tribal court, with one exception: For violations of the Safe Boating Act, misdemeanor and felony violators would be cited into state court, but infraction offenders would be given a choice of whether they're cited into tribal or state court
*  Disputes would be resolved through non-binding arbitration, and the agreement would be up for automatic renewal each year, but either side could end it at the point of renewal.

The two sides, along with the Idaho Sheriff's Association, which opposed HB 500 but acted as something of a mediator between the county and tribe, had "three lengthy telephone conferences with the parties, and we arrived at the agreement yesterday," said Mike Kane, lobbyist for the Sheriff's Assocation. "To bring the parties together was in everyone's interest."

Helo Hancock, legislative director for the tribe, said, "I think both sides worked really hard, I think both sides negotiated their positions quite well and I think at the end of the day, we have a result that I think both sides should be happy with." The agreement in principle, which stretches for 10 pages, still needs formal signatures from the county sheriff and commissioners and approval from the tribal council and tribal police chief. "Hopefully we'll get the requisite signatures," Hancock said. "They've tentatively agreed to it."

He added, "We all believe that this bill, HB 500 was instrumental in getting the parties to the table and maybe having more fruitful discussions about law enforcement issues on our reservation."



Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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