Recent Press Releases

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune today praised the commencement of "Operation Dakota Peacekeeper," a Bureau of Indian Affairs project to increase the presence of law enforcement of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

"Reported incidents of violent crime on the Standing Rock Reservation are six times the national average," said Thune. "The Bureau of Indian Affairs is taking a proactive course of action regarding violent crime on Standing Rock. The additional BIA law enforcement personnel and community policing practices implemented by `Operation Dakota Peacekeeper' will help make reservation communities safer and give tribal leaders and members a stake in the safety of the reservation."

Senator Thune had previously requested that the BIA make increased tribal law enforcement resources a priority not only for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, but for all nine tribes in South Dakota.

"Operation Dakota Peacekeeper" will supplement the local police force with additional BIA personnel. Victim assistance services will also be made available.

In February, 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. Also, in March, the Senate passed the Fiscal Year 2009 Budget Resolution, which included Senator Thune's amendment to authorize additional funding for police and prosecutors to address the growing problem of crime on American Indian reservations.