The United States Department of Justice Releases New Publication: “Cross-Deputization in Indian Country”

Abstract: Jurisdiction in Indian country has long been complicated by multifaceted tribal, state, and federal laws, policies, and court decisions, making it difficult for law enforcement to effectively address many types of criminal offenses. Whether the victim and perpetrator belonged to a tribe, where the crime took place, and other circumstances must be considered before any action can be taken. But recent changes in tribal, federal, and state law have enabled tribal law enforcement to enforce a broader array of state and federal crimes by cross-commissioning and cross-deputizing their officers. This report – based on the work of the National Sheriffs’ Association, which assembled a cross-deputization advisory panel – examines the jurisdictional and legal limits of cross-deputization and how it has been implemented in various law enforcement agencies in Indian country. It also describes some of the most promising practices and provides sample documents and agreements.