Federal Report Finds DOJ Falling Short in Tribal Law Enforcement

Dec 18, 2017

A new federal report shows the U.S. Justice Department has fallen short in its law enforcement duties in Indian Country. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports. 

Navajo Nation Police Officer Hosteen Chester in Window Rock
Credit Alysa Landry/Indian Country Media Network

The Tribal Law and Order Act requires the DOJ provide assistance to tribal law enforcement agencies with investigations, training and data collection. The report from the department’s inspector general, however, shows federal agents, tribal police and U.S. Attorney offices haven’t yet developed a uniform system since Congress passed the law in 2010.

In addition, the audit found a lack of accountability within the DOJ, which has led to crimes not being fully investigated and prosecuted. The inspector general made more than a dozen recommendations to improve law enforcement.

The Navajo Nation was among 11 tribes surveyed for the report. Scarce resources and geographic isolation amplify crime-fighting challenges on the 27,000-square-mile reservation.