FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) - President Barack Obama has signed a bill he says will address the unique public safety challenges facing American Indian tribes. Obama signed the Tribal Law and Order Act on Thursday.
The measure provides for the appointment of special U.S. attorneys to ensure violent crimes in tribal communities are prosecuted. It also revamps training for reservation police, expands the sentencing authority of tribal courts from one to three years, addresses jurisdictional issues and improves the collection and reporting of Indian crime data.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, who authored the bill, says millions of American Indians have lived far too long with unacceptable levels of violent crime. Tribes hailed the signing as a reaffirmation of the federal government's trust responsibility to ensure their communities are safe.