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Tribal official says confidentiality an issue in law enforcement

Bismarck, North Dakota (AP) 9-07

A tribal official says confidential information is one hurdle to overcome for law enforcement officials working on reservations.

The issue was discussed this week at the Intertribal Council Summit in Bismarck.

Karen Azure, a member of a state drug and alcohol task force, said some tribal law enforcement agencies can afford only bare-bones staffing. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said drug dealers exploit reservation communities.

United Tribes Technical College President David Gipp said progress has been made among law enforcement agencies but more can be done.

“Sometimes the tribes are somewhat reluctant, because they don’t know exactly how the state will use any confidential information they may turn over to the state governments,” Gipp said. “So, really, we have to have a meeting point in which the state officials – law enforcement officials and tribal law enforcement officials and even federal officials – can sit down and work out how that map is going to work, and how they’re going to respect each other’s jurisdiction – but as importantly, how they are going to respect confidential information, in terms of its use.

“That is one hurdle that we’re still working on, and we hope that maybe North Dakota can lead the way,” Gipp said.

Other topics at the conference include the preservation of native languages, tribal sovereignty and renewable energy development.

Gipp said tribes in the Dakotas have started a number of experiments with wind and other forms of renewable energy, hoping to use it for economic development.

The Spirit Lake casino never Devils Lake already is powered by wind energy, and other tribes have wind energy plans, he said.

Information from: Dave Thompson/KCND-FM, http://ndpr.org

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