- Associated Press - Monday, September 21, 2020

DEVILS LAKE, N.D. (AP) - The federal government plans to train Bureau of Indian Affairs law officers year-round at the National Guard’s Camp Grafton in North Dakota, with training to begin this fall.

As many as a dozen federal staff could work at Camp Grafton, training potentially hundreds of recruits on an annual basis, according to officials.

The director of the U.S. Indian Police Academy, Steven Juneau, plans to come to the state in the coming weeks to visit with Guard leaders, according to North Dakota National Guard spokesman Bill Prokopyk, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

The U.S. Department of the Interior has approved a $2.5 million plan to conduct the specialized training at Camp Grafton near Devils Lake. The money was included in fiscal year 2020 appropriations legislation that Congress passed in December, according to U.S. Sen. John Hoeven.

The senator is chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and last year held a field hearing at United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck when he, Gov. Doug Burgum and tribal leaders urged BIA officials to provide more law enforcement resources and advocated for a local BIA training facility to better recruit officers.

Tribal leaders have long detailed problems on reservations ranging from drug trafficking to cases of missing and murdered Indigenous people. They said they need more law enforcement officers, equipment and training, along with better pay.

The BIA training is expected to begin this fall.

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