Bill to give ID tribes arrest power moves forward

By John Miller
Boise, Idaho (AP) February 2011

A House committee narrowly backed plan to give a northern Idaho Indian tribe the authority to arrest non-Indians on its reservation.

The 8-6 vote in the House Judiciary and Rules Committee last week came after a six-hour hearing.

It now goes to a full House vote.

Lawmakers heard pleas from the Coeur d’Alene tribe, whose leaders said a conflict with Benewah County law enforcement since 2007 has compromised public safety because they can’t arrest non-Indians.

Meanwhile, Benewah County prosecutor Douglas Payne said he fears the tribe could abuse the powers they would win with this bill, should it become law, by arresting people and then trying them in tribal court.

Tribal officials said any state violations or citations, including for speeding, must be processed in state, not tribal courts.