FARGO — The Bureau of Justice Statistics is conducting its first-ever census of tribal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. to better understand tribal public safety systems and issues they face.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics, a data collection agency, has partnered with independent research institution NORC at the University of Chicago and the International Association of Chiefs of Police to conduct the “2019 Census of Tribal Law Enforcement Agencies.” The effort will be an important step in building an overall picture of the tribal public safety system, Jesse Delmar, executive director of the Navajo Nation Department of Public Safety, said in a statement from the bureau.
Fernando Agudelo, a NORC spokesman, said the goal is “to provide vital information to tribal justice agencies, state and local agencies, policy makers, and the general public about the services tribal agencies provide and the needs and obstacles they face in their efforts to serve their communities.” Another goal is to gather information on police workloads, including calls, arrests and citations.
The survey asks what kinds of legal violations have occurred on tribal lands, how many officers the agency employs and how many are Native or non-Native, what duties officers perform, what training is available and how the agency is funded, among other questions.
The data collected by the survey won’t be used directly to determine federal funding to tribal law enforcement.
The bureau mailed or emailed the survey to 281 potential respondents, and may also contact agencies by phone, Agudelo said. Respondents can return their filled out surveys through Nov. 30. The bureau will use the information only for research and statistical purposes and plans on publishing a report from the survey in 2020.