News and Press Releases

The U.S. Attorney For The District Of Montana Announces Creation Of Indian Country Crime Unit/operational Pla

Friday, October 22, 2010

The U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana, Michael W. Cotter, announced today that his office has completed a week of meetings with tribal representatives at the Blackfeet Indian Reservation; the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation; the Fort Peck Indian Reservation; and the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation. During the visits the U.S. Attorney introduced members of Tribal Councils, Tribal Court systems, and Tribal Public Safety and Information Officers to his newly formed Indian Country Crime Unit. Additionally, U.S. Attorney Cotter presented the District's Indian Country Operational Plan to the tribes. Representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation also attended the meetings with tribal representatives.

The newly created Indian Country Crime Unit is comprised of six Assistant United States Attorneys, three of whom are filling new positions afforded by the Department of Justice in conjunction with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's initiative to focus on improving public safety in Indian Country nationally. The Unit is headed by veteran Indian Country Assistant United States Attorney Lori Suek (Billings). The team is comprised of attorneys Vince Carroll (Great Falls), Jessica Betley (Great Falls), Danna Jackson (Helena), Laura Weiss (Great Falls), and Mike Wolfe (Helena).

The District of Montana's Operational Plan, presented during the recent Indian Country Tour, was drafted after significant consultation with Montana's tribes. The Plan focuses on enhancing communication with tribal governments, increasing the number and quality of training opportunities for the tribes, providing ambitious deadlines by which the federal government and the tribal government should jointly determine appropriate disposition and jurisdiction of cases. The Plan addresses implementation of the newly passed Tribal Law and Order Act. Also, the Plan encourages tribes to adopt the CARE center model, located on the Crow reservation, for purposes of providing child victims greater services.

U.S. Attorney Cotter said: "Attorney General Holder came through on his promises to add more resources to address Indian Country crime. As a direct result my office was able to increase the number of attorneys dedicated to full time prosecution of crime in Indian Country. I greatly appreciated being warmly welcomed by tribes this past week and the opportunity to talk face-to-face with tribal representatives on how we can jointly reduce crime, improve public safety and enhance the quality of life in Indian Country."



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