Hoeven Secures Commitment from Interior Secretary Nominee to Address Law Enforcement Shortage in Indian Country

Senator Advocating for New BIA Training Facility in North Dakota to Bolster Law Enforcement Recruitment and Retention

WASHINGTON – At a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee this week, Senator John Hoeven secured a commitment from David Bernhardt, the president’s nominee to serve as U.S. Secretary of the Interior, to help with the senator’s efforts to provide additional federal law enforcement in Indian Country, including in North Dakota. Hoeven is advocating for a new Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) law enforcement training center in North Dakota, which would enable more law enforcement to be recruited from local communities, supporting greater retention of personnel. Bernhardt expressed support for the idea and committed to work with Hoeven on addressing the law enforcement shortage, including testifying in front of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA).

Hoeven serves as chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee and recently held a field hearing in Bismarck to receive testimony from state, local and tribal leaders regarding ongoing challenges in combatting the illicit drug trade, human trafficking and violence against women and children. 

“When we spoke with tribal leaders, one issue that stood out was the need for more law enforcement in tribal communities,” said Hoeven. “Establishing a BIA training facility in North Dakota would help ensure that officers have ties to the communities they serve. That means better recruitment and better retention. As the Interior Secretary nominee, David Bernhardt will be an important partner in this work. He recognizes the benefits of creating a local training facility, and we appreciate his commitment to work with us on this issue.”

In addition to the new training facility, Hoeven is working to advance legislation he has introduced that will enhance public safety in tribal communities, including:

  • S. 210, the Tribal Law and Order Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2019, which would reauthorize and strengthen several key programs to improve tribal justice and public safety for Indian communities.
  • S. 211, the SURVIVE Act, which would expand critical victims services by requiring a 5% allocation from the Crime Victims Fund be allocated directly to Indian Tribes.

Hoeven has also cosponsored Savanna’s Act, legislation that requires reporting on missing and murdered Native Americans and directs the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior to consult with Indian Tribes while developing national law enforcement guidelines.