- Associated Press - Monday, June 5, 2017

PINE RIDGE, S.D. (AP) - Oglala Sioux Tribe officials hope a mutual-aid agreement between the tribe and outside authorities could help curb violent crime in South Dakota.

The Rapid City Journal (https://bit.ly/2rtMZEd ) reported that tribal leaders have met with officials from the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office and Rapid City Police Department to discuss sharing emergency and police resources through a proposed extradition agreement.

Local police can’t arrest people on reservation land because the areas are considered sovereign territories under federal law. Tribal police also face jurisdiction restrictions once offenders have left the area. Rapid City and the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation are separated by about 80 miles.

“Criminal behavior and illegal drug trafficking and illegal drug use do not respect jurisdictional boundaries,” Rapid City Police Chief Karl Jegeris said. “The jurisdictional complications that exist actually give an advantage to criminal behavior. We’re behind the curve.”

The agreement would target people involved in violent crimes, illegal drug activity and domestic violence situations. Authorities hope the extradition agreement will bring justice to victims.

“It’s time to work through and past those jurisdictional boundaries,” said Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom. “We want to recognize the tribe’s sovereignty and establish a process like we do with the other states so we have a mechanism to extradite people.”

Stanley Little Whiteman, who leads the tribal council’s law and order committee, said some people are worried the agreement will mean the tribe is ceding some if it’s power.

“The rumors have been that Pennington’s gonna patrol the reservation, but that’s not true,” said Little Whiteman, a former law enforcement officer on Pine Ridge. “We’re just all kind of expanding our areas to assist each other.”

The tribe’s 20-member council must vote on the proposed agreement.

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Information from: Rapid City Journal, https://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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