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USBR delegates enforcement authority to Tribes

Public information meeting set


Last updated 8/18/2015 at 10:33pm

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has delegated authority to enforce federal laws on its lands within the exterior boundary of the Colville Reservation to certified Colville Tribal Police officers, the USBR announced last Wednesday.

The bureau has scheduled a meeting at the Lake Roosevelt High School library at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 19, to provide information to the public and answer questions.

The delegation of authority does not include enforcement of hunting, fishing or boating regulations, a bureau press release stated.

Tribal police will join other law enforcement organizations around the Grand Coulee Dam and Lake Roosevelt to enforce civil laws and expand law enforcement presence around Lake Roosevelt, which is a popular recreation area.

“This is a historic milestone,” Michael Henry, tribal police chief, stated in the release. “This effort will bridge a gap in law enforcement, as well as strengthen the partnership between the Bureau and the Tribe, ensuring public safety and protection of important and valuable resources.”

Bruce Muller, the USBR’s director of security, said tribal police will be able to conduct routine law enforcement and perform investigations. Specifically, he said, “officers will be able to respond, patrol, address public safety and enforce federal laws on reclamation land within the exterior boundaries of the Colville reservation.”

A memorandum of understanding between the Colvilles and the bureau was signed last February and March.

Tribal officers have since received training in federal regulations, a USBR spokesperson said.

The public is invited to learn more about this decision and to ask questions at the Aug. 19 meeting at Lake Roosevelt High School library.

The memorandum and map are available here.


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