Call for U.S. to Fund Law Enforcement Needs on State Reservations
Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Senate Joint Resolution Five in the Montana State Legislature calls for the U.S. Congress to fully fund the public safety and law enforcement needs of Montana’s tribal nations and reservations.
KGVO News spoke to Montana State Senator Bob Brown, a Republican from Trout Creek, about the need for the joint resolution.
The Legislature is Calling out the Federal Government to Stand by its Promises
“With the tribes we may have differences of opinions in a lot of ways, but they are our neighbors,” began Senator Brown. “They are our friends and family. I really believe that the issues that they are having, and they are not issues that are confined within the borders of the reservation, I believe that the criminal element can take up refuge there very easily and that tends to bleed into all of our communities across the state.”
The resolution states that Montana’s Native American citizens have been deeply impacted by violence and addiction, in addition to the ongoing epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous persons for generations, while the federal government has continuously failed in its public safety commitments to our tribal communities.
Senator Brown said all Montanans Should Stand Behind the Joint Resolution
Brown said the problem spans the entire state and that every Montanan should be outraged.
“A reservation problem is not just a reservation problem, it is a state problem,” he said. “It is a local community problem and it is right down to that local level that those issues begin to see the drugs, the crime, the theft and everything else, and much of it stems from that activity.”
Brown said the legislature will stand behind the state’s reservations to help influence Congress for Senate Joint Resolution Five.
“We’re asking that all the tribes get involved, and that they put together a package that we can send to Congress and shed light on the issue, so that we can tell them as one voice as a state and as a family that we see the issues that we are having,” he said. “We believe that instead of funding all the things Congress is funding overseas, that we should take a look at home and take care of our people first.”
Will Congress Finally Stand Up and Protect Native Peoples?
Brown said the tribes, the reservations and the people of Montana will find out whether the United States Congress stands behind them, by its response to this Senate Joint Resolution.
“In my opinion the message is that if Congress doesn't act pretty soon and start supplying them with some the law enforcement and the things that they've promised to them and really I believe we're obligated to do, then it tells them that we in Congress don't care about you.”
SJ 5 urges the United States Congress to fully fund public safety within Montana’s reservations and urges the U.S. Department of Justice to work cooperatively with the governments of tribal nations to effectively administer justice programs.