Tribe denounces county’s end to law enforcement agreement

Published 10:01 am Thursday, June 30, 2016

ONAMIA — The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe is denouncing county officials’ decision to end a law enforcement agreement between the Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Office and the Mille Lacs Band Tribal Police.

A statement from the Native American tribe says the Mille Lacs County Board voted last week to end the agreement without prior warning or discussion.

The tribe says the 25-year-old agreement improved the region’s law enforcement by leveraging the additional capabilities of the Mille Lacs Band’s 32 tribe-funded police officers. The tribe says the county will have to replace the officers lost with the termination of the agreement.

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Mille Lacs Band Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin says the decision puts politics ahead of public safety.

Mille Lacs County cited its disagreement with a federal opinion as its primary basis for ending the agreement.