The band and six law enforcement agencies have reached agreement for mutual law enforcement. The arrangement was signed Oct. 7 and will create more consistency and quicker response to traffic violations and other incidents. "The bottom line is there should be more officers, more patrols in the neighborhoods,'' Beltrami County Sheriff Keith Winger said. The agreement allows for concurrent jurisdiction of criminal and regulatory laws on the reservation by all officers including Leech Lake and Cass Lake police officers, Beltrami, Hubbard, Itasca and Cass county sheriff's deputies and State Patrol troopers. Previously, only tribal police could enforce civil regulatory laws broken by band members on the reservation. "I think consistency is something we really want to develop as we work through the early weeks of the agreement,'' Cass County Sheriff Randy Fisher said. Hubbard County Sheriff Gary Mills said Leech Lake officers will have to brush up on state law while county deputies will need to study reservation ordinances. "It's going to take some getting used to," differentiating between civil and criminal laws, Mills said, "and dealing with band members vs. non-band members. Where does each go to court, for instance?'' Dispatching calls and record keeping will need clarification, Winger said.
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