U.S. Reps. O’Halleran, Johnson Introduce Tribal Policing Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ-01) and Dusty Johnson (R-SD) have introduced the Tribal Capital for Operations Promoting Safety (COPS) Act to improve tribal law enforcement agencies and operations through additional training, compensation, and equipment procurement.

“For too long, tribal police departments across Indian Country have dealt with staffing shortages and a lack of appropriate resources to address public safety concerns,” said Rep. O’Halleran. “In Arizona’s First District, the Navajo Nation alone is larger than the State of West Virginia and has only a few hundred officers. That’s why I’m proud to introduce the Tribal COPS Act with Representative Johnson, my colleague across the aisle, to increase funding for tribal police departments to recruit, hire, and train skilled officers.” 

“Indian Country does not have the resources needed to combat crime – currently, there is one officer to every 1,333 persons on the Pine Ridge Reservation,” said Rep. Johnson. “Our tribal communities struggle with slow emergency response times – as long as thirty minutes – as well as officer retainment. The Tribal COPS Act will provide these law enforcement agencies with resources to improve the safety and security of their communities.”

The Tribal Capital for Operations Promoting Safety (COPS) Act would:

  • Establish a grant program to increase capabilities of tribal law enforcement agencies
  • Grant formula will take the following into account:
    • Size of tribal lands
    • Population of tribal lands
    • Average response time of the law enforcement agency to an emergency call
  • Grants may be used to:
    • Compensate officers, including retention bonuses
    • Provide training
    • Provide housing stipends to officers principally residing within tribal lands
    • Procure equipment
    • Procure, operate, maintain facilities for use by officers