- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 5, 2014

MANISTEE, Mich. (AP) - The Manistee County Sheriff’s Office has suspended the policing authority of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians tribal police.

Sheriff Dale Kowalkowski said the agency’s powers were suspended late Tuesday night until further notice. The sheriff’s office said the decision was a result of recent incidents and investigations. Kowalkowski said he received a call Friday from tribal leader Larry Romanelli, who indicated he was going to suspend upper management within the tribal police agency.

The sheriff wouldn’t provide further details about any issues within the agency.

“I just revoked the authority until (Romanelli) sorts this out. I just didn’t have the trust,” Kowalkowski said.

The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians plans to handle the “human resource/personnel issue” internally, according to a statement released Wednesday.

“Contrary to allegations by the Sheriff, LRBOI has a well-established and clear chain of command and supervisory structure in place which is sufficient to operate the tribal government,” the statement said.

The tribal police will still have authority as a federal agency. But the sheriff’s department said they won’t have power over Manistee County residents other than Native Americans.

Kowalkowski said he’s still trying to figure out how his department can provide policing services to the casino and other areas belonging to the tribe.

“Right now, we don’t have the staff to police that place. It’s huge,” he said.

About three years ago, the Manistee County Sheriff’s Office “cross deputized” with the tribal police, according to Kowalkowski, which gave the agency the authority to make arrests and perform other police duties.

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