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Feds announce $5M in grants to tribes in Washington

By Gene Johnson
Tulalip, Washington (AP) 9-09

The No. 2 and No. 3 lawyers from the Justice Department on during late August announced nearly $5.5 million in law enforcement grants for American Indian tribes in Washington state.

The money will go toward a renewed effort to fight domestic violence, sexual assault and other crimes on reservations across the country.

“We look at Indian Country today, and I share your frustrations that the issues of poverty, violent crime and a lack of resources look very much the same as they did a decade ago,” Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli told tribal leaders. “We must do better.”

The money includes more than $3.3 million in one-year community-oriented police service grants to 15 tribes. Six of the tribes are getting a total of seven new police officers, and others will receive money for equipment and training.

In addition, the Tulalip, Squaxin Island and Swinomish tribes are sharing nearly $2.2 million in three-year grants from the Office on Violence Against Women. Nationwide, the Obama administration is distributing $20.8 million through the office to help tribes combat domestic violence and sexual assault.

 

Melvin Sheldon, chairman of the Tulalip Tribes, said the money would help tribes pay for police, courts, shelters and safehouses to help them better tackle the problems on their own.

“Not all tribes are fortunate as we are to have gaming revenue to support those services,” Sheldon said.

About 10,000 people live on the Tulalip reservation just north of Everett, and Mike Catlett, tribal police administrative commander, said the department’s officers respond to two or three domestic violence calls per week.

The Tulalip police will hire two new full-time officers with the grant money, giving the agency about three dozen in all, and will spend $900,000 to turn a tribal facility into a healing center and safe house with five employees.

Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden, the second in command at the department, and Perrelli, the third in command, announced the grants following a “listening session” with tribal leadership and law enforcement experts.

A second session is scheduled in Albuquerque, N.M., next month, followed by the attorney general’s conference with tribal representatives from around the country in Minnesota in October.

 

 

 

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