Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Governor still mum on tribal law enforcement in Lake County

County officials frustrated with Gov. Gianforte's silence over pending changes to reservation law enforcement.

Officials in Lake County say the clock is ticking for the state to assume felony law enforcement duties on the Flathead Indian Reservation, but so far they've heard nothing from Gov. Greg Gianforte.

In November, the Lake County Commission sent a letter to Gianforte informing him that the local sheriff's office and criminal justice system would no longer handle felony law enforcement on the reservation under what is called Public Law 280. The agreement between the state and tribe is one-of-a-kind in Montana. Under the law, the governor has six months to make a proclamation releasing Lake County of its duties. But more than two months after notifying the governor that it wanted out, the county has had no conversations with the state about what law enforcement there would look like in the future.

"We have heard nothing," Commissioner Gale Decker told Montana Free Press this week. "The clock is ticking and [the deadline of] May 20th is going to be here really soon."


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