Cybele K. Daley, Acting Assistant Attorney General
Office of Justice Programs
International Association of Chiefs of Police Indian Country Law Enforcement Section Annual Meeting
New Orleans, LA
October 14, 2007
Good afternoon and thank you for the invitation to speak here today. I am honored to be here with other representatives of the Department of Justice and our partner federal agencies.
Most of all I am glad to have this opportunity to talk with tribal law enforcement. We truly appreciate the work you do.
We know that the challenges you face are tremendous and that you are spread much too thinly. A few years ago, our National Institute of Justice supported a study of tribal law enforcement agencies. The study shows that a typical police department in Indian country serves a population of 10,000 people, living in an area about the size of Delaware. Yet, on average, tribal communities are patrolled by no more than three officers. It’s clear that your job of protecting communities is not an easy one.
It’s fitting that this session is a part of the larger IACP conference. Our former Assistant Attorney General Regina Schofield was committed to ensuring that Tribal law enforcement had access to the same resources as other law enforcement around the country, not just those specifically designated for Tribes. She did this while also honoring the government-to-government relationship between tribes and the federal government.
As you are aware, Ms. Schofield left OJP last month. While we miss her leadership and dedication, let me assure you that OJP’s efforts to better serve Tribal communities will continue and grow.
Last year we launched the Tribal Justice and Safety Web site, dedicated to providing you up-to-date relevant information for Indian country. We are continuing to enhance the Web site to better meet Tribal needs.
In Fiscal Year 2007 we held national Tribal training and technical assistance sessions around the country. We conducted, with our federal partners, four sessions in Fiscal Year 2007. Three of these sessions included formal consultations, so we could better learn about the greatest challenges to tribal communities in providing public safety and public health for its members.
The feedback we received from these sessions encouraged us to set up more for fiscal year 2008. The next Interdepartmental Tribal Consultation, Training & Technical Assistance Session will be held on November 27-30, 2007, at the Tamaya Hyatt Resort, Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico.
The last day of this session will be dedicated to a symposium on sex offender management and accountability, hosted by Laura Rogers, the director of our Sex Offender Monitoring, Apprehension, Registering and Tracking Office (SMART).
Tribal leaders also asked us to continue our expansion efforts to other federal agencies and Departments. I am pleased to report that last week OJP, working with our long-term partner, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration “SAMHSA”, secured another important partner in this collaboration, the Indian Health Service. We are pleased that I-H-S plans to join us in fiscal year 2008, and we look forward to working with them.
During the consultation sessions we held in March and June, 2007, we heard ideas on how we can improve our grants process. Shortly before she left, Ms. Schofield approved a new Tribal Grants Policy.
The new policy is designed to result in more timely and thorough information to Tribes about available grants and their eligibility. It should also make it easier for Tribes to apply for OJP funds.
Ms. Schofield also created the Justice Programs Council on Native American Affairs, which is working hard to improve OJP’s and the Justice Department’s coordination and policy efforts on behalf of Tribes.
OJP has now established a Tribal advisory group to the support the Council. We have notified all 562 federally recognized tribes informing the Tribal leaders and are soliciting nominations until October 22, 2007.
Coordinating this effort is Gena Tyner-Dawson, OJP’s Senior Advisor to the Assistant Attorney General for Tribal Affairs. She has worked tirelessly to improve OJP’s outreach and service to Tribal communities. Due to another commitment, Ms. Tyner-Dawson could not be here today, but she sends her highest regards. Please feel free to contact Ms. Tyner-Dawson with any questions, ideas or concerns regarding OJP’s service to Indian Country.
Last month, Ms. Schofield announced 10 Tribal sites have been selected to serve as pilot communities as part of the Department’s AMBER Alert in Indian Country Initiative. The 10 Tribal sites will serve as demonstration sites for other Native American communities to help expand the AMBER Alert program into Indian County and bridge the gap between Tribal communities and state and regional programs across the country.
The 10 pilot sites will serve as models for other Tribal communities working to develop AMBER Alert plans so that children in Indian country can benefit from the AMBER Alert network.
We know that tribes share our goal of improving the monitoring and tracking of sex offenders. OJP consulted with tribal leaders to gain your input on how we implement the Adam Walsh Act for Indian Country. We will continue to work with tribes to help make this implementation work.
AAG Schofield hired a full-time staff member whose sole focus is on Indian country, Leslie Hagen, and she is working closely with Laura Rogers to implement Adam Walsh for Indian country. I am glad Ms. Hagen is here with us today. Please do not hesitate to contact her regarding any Adam Walsh Act–related matter.
Working together, we have made much progress, but there remains much to be done. I, and all of us at OJP, will continue to build on Ms. Schofield’s legacy. She has left, but the commitment to Tribal communities remains.
Thank you again for your attendance, for your commitment to your communities, and for all that you do.