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Thune Requests Additional Funding for SD Tribal Law Enforcement Needs

Letter Encourages Interior Department to Direct Increased Funds in FY08 Budget to Improve Tribal Safety

March 4, 2008

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune has sent a letter to Dirk Kempthorne, Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, requesting that the Interior Department allocate additional funding for tribal law enforcement in South Dakota. The Interior Department received over $26 million more in Fiscal Year 2008 than Fiscal Year 2007 for Tribal Public Safety and Justice programs.

"South Dakota's reservations face serious challenges in stopping violent crime," said Thune. "A severe lack of public safety means children do not have a safe environment to learn and economic development is stifled.

"The Interior Department received a significant budget increase for tribal safety and law enforcement for Fiscal Year 2008. I urge Secretary Kempthorne to direct some of this money to South Dakota's reservations, where it is urgently needed. In my visits to South Dakota reservations in recent weeks and in the meetings I have had in Washington, D.C., tribal officials have consistently highlighted the need for more resources to combat crime in Indian Country."

Last month, the U.S. Senate passed S. 1200, the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, which included Senator Thune's amendment to require a Government Accountability Office study of the tribal justice systems of North and South Dakota.