Mohawk police get power to enforce state law 5-30-07

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Eleven members of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal police were given expanded powers Wednesday that allow them to enforce New York law on the upstate reservation.

It is the first time New York has extended such power to tribal police officers, said acting New York State Police Superintendent Preston Felton, who made the appointments. All 11 met the necessary state requirements for certification, he said.

“These appointments will enable tribal officers to provide a higher level of service to the Mohawk community,” Felton said. “In addition to serving the interests of this community, they will help protect the entire state of New York by enhancing the security of nearly 12 miles of international border between the United States and Canada.”

U.S. Attorney Glenn Suddaby said with state certification, the Mohawk police officers can now help with Homeland Security efforts.

The St. Regis police force was formed in 1972 and has 18 officers.

Previously, tribal police officers had only limited civil police authority and only as it related to members of the tribe.

The officers will now be able to provide a full range of law enforcement services and make arrests for all criminal offenses on the reservation, just like a state or local policeman, Felton said.

They will have the authority to stop vehicles and enforce vehicle and traffic laws on the reservation and will be able to issue appearance tickets, conduct criminal investigations, execute warrants and pursue cases in local criminal courts.

In addition, they are now empowered to make arrests outside of their jurisdiction when the arrest is the result of a pursuit that began on the reservation, Felton said.