State offers law enforcement resources to tribes

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Posted: Thursday, February 13, 2020 4:23 pm

The state of South Dakota is offering to partner with Indian reservations to help fight the epidemic of methamphetamine use.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Gov. Kristi Noem, Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg and Secretary of Tribal Relations David Flute said that South Dakota stands ready to offer memorandums of understanding (MOU) to the reservations that would allow them to share in law enforcement services from the state.

“We have new ways we can partner with them,” Flute said.

A memorandum of understanding is a document that states both parties are working toward the same goal, according to Ravnsborg. Each MOU would be a pilot program, Ravnsborg said, subject to change if it doesn’t work out.

“They can look different from tribe to tribe,” Noem said of the MOUs.

Each of the officials emphasized that the MOU would respect the sovereignty of reservations.

“We’re here to respect your sovereignty, your jurisdiction,” Flute said.

Flute admitted that state law enforcement officers may not find themselves welcomed on the reservations.

“Explaining that to your tribal members can be a great challenge,” Flute said.

At a hearing earlier in the week, many tribal members were present and others testified against HB1117, which offers penalties for riot or riot boosting. The testimony against the bill said it would block the First Amendment free speech rights of protesters.

At the press conference, Noem said that HB1117 protects First Amendment rights while protecting people and property from harm. While she may disagree with the tribes about the intent of the bill, Noem said it would still be possible for them to work together on other projects.