PINE RIDGE, S.D. (AP) - The Oglala Sioux Tribe is assigning 911 system street addresses to homes and installing hundreds of street signs across the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
The project comes as tribes in North Dakota struggled to ensure they had identification with street addresses so they could vote in Tuesday’s general election.
The purpose is different on Pine Ridge, though officials have an eye on what has happened in North Dakota, said Tory Ferguson, geographic information system specialist with the tribe’s Department of Public Safety.
“Our main focus for this 911 addressing project is for 911 to have a system to get our police officers to calls for service in a quicker way. It cuts down on our response time,” he said. “And, of course, it spins off into a lot of other things.”
That includes easier mailing and a better system for conducting business, Ferguson told the Rapid City Journal.
Ferguson has installed 301 signs and has 224 more to go.
“I’ve done so many now, I’m a pro,” he said.
In North Dakota, an October U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowed the state to continue requiring street addresses on voter IDs, as opposed to addresses such as post office boxes that many Native Americans rely on. Tribes with the help of advocacy groups scrambled to issue more than 2,300 free qualifying IDs in the run-up to Tuesday’s election to ensure a strong Native American vote. The matter is the subject of two federal lawsuits against the state.
Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com
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