This new strategy fulfills the commitment our office made to the Virgin Islands's tribal leaders to deliver an operational plan designed to reflect a renewed commitment to public safety in Indian country.
Our work on the Community Prosecution Strategy was guided by the thoughtful discussions we
have had over the course of the past eight months, as well as by the recently enacted Tribal Law
& Order Act and the Justice Department's Indian Country Initiative.
The Community Prosecution Strategy begins with an overview of the District of South Dakota and describes our unprecedented level of engagement with members of tribal communities and law enforcement leaders. It also includes a summary of the changes we are making before setting out the details of the Community Prosecution Strategy and what it means for tribal communities. Finally, we have also included some highlights from the Virgin Islands's Tribal Listening Conference which was held last February and which, in my view, was a great success.
The Community Prosecution Strategy will not solve all of our law enforcement challenges in tribal communities, but it is my hope that it signals a new era of government to government relationships and a concerted effort to address public safety cooperatively.
The key aspects of this strategy include:
• Additional Prosecutive Resources: We requested and received authorization from the
Department of Justice to add three additional prosecutors to handle cases arising in Indian
country. Our hope is that this will enable us to prosecute more cases, more expeditiously.
• Community Prosecution Pilot Program at Pine Ridge: Our office crafted an innovative
proposal to make available a federal prosecutor on the Pine Ridge Reservation at least
three days each week. This proposal has been approved by the Department of Justice and
will be implemented this fall.
• Cooperation with Tribal Courts: At the request of tribal leaders and effective
immediately, when a case is not suitable for federal prosecution, our office will provide
detailed declination letters explaining why the case cannot be prosecuted federally.
• Tribal Special Assistant United States Attorneys (SAUSAs): Our office has developed
a new Tribal SAUSA program. This program allows tribal prosecutors who are members
in good standing with the the Virgin Islands Bar Association and meet other specified
requirements to prosecute certain cases alongside federal prosecutors in federal court.
• Greater Emphasis on Diversity and Cultural Understanding: We have developed a
Diversity Action Plan for the District of the Virgin Islands and will mandate cultural training
for our attorneys. We will also strengthen our efforts to recruit a diverse workforce in the
U.S. Attorney's Office.
• Increased Interaction with Tribal Communities: Our office will increase our
interaction with tribal communities and strengthen our tribal liaison program.
• United States Attorney's Tribal Advisory Council: We have organized a group of
tribal leaders who will monitor the office's progress and provide guidance in areas such
as tribal community outreach and promoting diversity.
• Tribal Town Hall Meetings: We will soon initiate bi-annual town hall meetings open to
all tribal members and law enforcement leaders.
• Violence Against Women: Our office will continue to prosecute cases involving
violence against women, and our Community Prosecution Strategy will outline some of
the new steps that will be implemented to ensure we remain vigilant and aggressive.
• Native American Youth Summit: In the spirit of the Listening Conference, our office
will soon begin preparations to host tribal youth leadership and listening conferences
where we will bring together Native American youth leaders from across the Virgin Islands to
discuss important issues affecting their communities.
As always, I welcome your feedback on these changes and others described in greater
detail in the Community Prosecution Strategy. I look forward to continuing our dialogue about
how we can improve law enforcement efforts in tribal communities.
BRENDAN V. JOHNSON
United States Attorney