Oneida Nation Police Department and Saint Regis Mohawk Police Department Officers earn Bureau of Indian Affairs federal certification after training May 15-17 in Canastota.
((Canastota, NY – May 2012) United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian, Oneida Nation Police Department Chief Joseph Smith and Saint Regis Mohawk Police Chief Andy Thomas announced that 16 Oneida Nation and 6 additional Saint Regis Mohawk Police Officers have earned and received Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) special federal law enforcement commission certifications, which delegate BIA authority to enforce federal criminal statutes in certain circumstances within their jurisdictions. The certifications followed training and an examination held in the week of May 17 in Canastota.
The United States Department of Justice and the Bureau of Indian Affairs teamed to produce the training materials for the new course, “Criminal Jurisdiction in Indian Country,” designed to strengthen the ability of tribal and local law enforcement to participate in the investigation and enforcement of federal crimes in Indian country, fulfilling a key training requirement under the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010. The training was offered for only the second time in Canastota.
The Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 has among its provisions greater authority for law enforcement and prosecution by tribal police departments and tribal courts.
“The special law enforcement commission gives tribal police the ability to investigate and make arrests in federal cases,” said Leslie A. Hagen, National Indian Country Training Coordinator for the Justice Department’s Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys. “This authority and the protections that go along with it, helps build the capacity of tribal law enforcement to keep their communities safe and strengthens federal and tribal partnerships for public safety.”
The Criminal Jurisdiction in Indian Country training occurred over three days in Canastota at the Oneida Nation Police Department. The national level training was locally customized for New York-trained officers, and was expanded to take advantage of the depth of experience of the attending officers.
This brings to a total of 34 Oneida Nation police officers and 15 Saint Regis Mohawk police officers who are certified by the BIA to perform federal law enforcement functions and refer cases directly to the United States Attorney’s Office for federal prosecution. The BIA certifications last for five years.