House panel mulls giving tribes state arrest power

Boise, Idaho (AP) February 2011

A House panel spent more than four hours considering a measure to give state authorization to tribal police to arrest non-Indians on reservations.

Last week's hearing came amid a dispute between the Coeur d’Alene Indian tribe and Benewah County following the collapse of a deal that lawmakers thought had been struck during the 2010 Legislature.

This year’s measure would give tribal police officers the power to arrest non-tribal members, provided officers are certified at Idaho’s police academy. The arrests must be processed in state, not tribal courts.

But Benewah County officials including Prosecutor Douglas Payne urged the House Judiciary and Rules Committee to reject the bill, fearing tribal police will abuse it to cite non-members in tribal courts.

Committee Chairman Rich Wills said he planned to hold a vote on this week.