Johnson Calls for Committee Field Hearings in Indian Country
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) called on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies to hold field hearings on Indian reservations to learn about the challenges faced by tribal law enforcement in the Great Plains.
“As I speak with leaders from South Dakota’s nine tribes, it is clear the number one concern facing Indian reservations is the dismal state of law enforcement,” Johnson wrote. “Tribal communities are desperate for relief…The federal government [should honor] the commitment we made and works to meet the law enforcement needs of Indian country.”
“We praise Rep. Dusty Johnson’s action today to request House field hearings on tribal law enforcement needs in the Great Plains. We welcome these hearings as an opportunity for Members of the House to hear firsthand about the crisis we face every day in our tribal communities. A generation of our people are now born plagued by gangs and cartels, human and drug trafficking, organized crime, abuse, and murder. The sole provider of law enforcement services to the Oglala Sioux Tribe is the federal government, and this plague has only grown under their administration in the last 20 years. After years of effort to raise awareness about the dire public safety situation on our lands and our victory in court, we still need federal decision-makers to focus on the reality of public safety in Indian Country in the Great Plains and to take the bold actions to address it. We thank Rep. Dusty Johnson for being an unwavering ally in our fight for the survival of our people. We look forward to a frank discussion with Congress at the field hearings and a plan of action to address this problem once and for all,” said President Frank Star Comes Out Oglala Sioux Tribe.
- This year, [dustyjohnson.house.gov/sites/evo-subsites/dustyjohnson.house.gov/files/evo-media-document/2023-07-02-crow-creek-emergency-declaration.pdf]Crow Creek Sioux Tribe and Oglala Sioux Tribe each issued a State of Emergency on their reservations due to insufficient law enforcement in their communities. The Oglala Sioux Tribe has only 33 officers to cover land areas of more than 3 million square acres.
- Oglala Sioux Tribe Chief of Police Algin Young shared how his officers must work 80 hours of overtime each month in an Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Hearing earlier this year.
- Reservations face violent crime rates much higher than the national average.
- The Pine Ridge Reservation has only one officer to every 1,333 persons and face slow response times as long as thirty minutes.
Read Johnson’s full letter here.