So what do these acts entail? The Tribal Law and Order Act, which was signed into law in 2010, is focused on funding, more specifically on offering additional resources to enhance the training and communication between differing levels of law enforcement and governance. With fewer than 3,000 tribal and federal law enforcement officers patrolling approximately 56,000,000 acres of land, it is no wonder that a bill to better Indian Country seeks to expand the police force. Along with allowing for new officers to be hired and receive basic training, members of law enforcement would also have the opportunity to receive special training on how to interview victims of sexual assault and collect crime scene evidence. The bill would even permit the Department of Justice to deputize tribal law enforcement to enforce federal laws on tribal land against all offenders. This would seem highly beneficial as federal officers and offices are spread thin and lack of timely response to crime has been an issue.
To overcome land, workforce, and sharing constraints, the law authorizes the use of grants by law enforcement to purchase computers. This would allow for better recording of crimes, the swift distribution of case information to all pertinent parties, and easier access to criminal databases. The funding isn’t just for policing though. Resources would also go to bettering tribal detention centers and sponsoring youth prevention programs. Perhaps the most preventative measure is the extension of tribal sentencing authority from one year to three years for any given offense.
The SAVE Native Women Act, which was introduced in October of 2011, has a more specific focus yet a seemingly more forceful impact as well. SAVE would make sex trafficking, sexual assault, stalking, and other such crimes a target for funding. Resources could then be used to aid victims, develop better practices for responding to such crimes, and creating further legislation on this issue. Tribal courts would also be given the authority to try ALL offenders of domestic violence and other such crimes, meaning Indian and non-Indian alike.
Additional Resources: One Page Summary of TLOA