Billings Gazette: Northern Cheyenne bring law enforcement crisis to Sen. Daines

Daines, who also met with leaders of the Crow Tribe of Indians earlier Friday, started his visit at the Little Wolf Capital Building in Lame Deer with an update on how the Northern Cheyenne Tribe has recovered from a severe surge of COVID-19. The number of cases and deaths among the Northern Cheyenne during the past month prompted aid from both the Montana National Guard and personnel from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The discussion soon pivoted, however, to a dilemma that’s plagued the Northern Cheyenne since well before the arrival of COVID-19. Northern Cheyenne President Rynalea Peña and others told Daines that for years the tribe has had only a fraction of the police force that it needs, with the few officers available overwhelmed. The lack of a functional jail, which tribal members have pressured the BIA to reopen for years, has compounded the stress on officers being able to respond quickly to calls.

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