Eleven officers of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Tribal Police Department received Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Special Law Enforcement Commission (SLEC) today during a brief ceremony at the Potawatomi Tribal Police station. Bryan Stark, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Office of Justice Services, Bureau of Indian Affairs, a division of the U.S. Department of the Interior officiated the swearing-in. The new authority is in addition to their commission as tribal police officers.
The new commission provides federal certification to the officers allowing them to enforce federal criminal statutes and federal hunting and fishing regulations in Indian Country. The new status will allow the officers to act as a federal arresting authority, investigate federal crimes and testify in federal court. All officers met the standards for qualification, training and suitability required of BIA law enforcement officers.
With the passage of the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010, Section 213 focused on increasing technical assistance and training to certify special law enforcement commissions to tribal justice officials and other individuals and entities responsible for responding to Indian Country crimes. Over the past year, the BIA and Justice Department officials have worked to create a new U.S. Attorney Office-led Criminal Justice Information Control training curriculum which was used in the officers’ training sessions.
The Potawatomi Tribal Police Department consists of 20 officers, with plans for more officers to become SLEC certified in the future. Staff that received the SLEC include, Chief Terry Clark, Lieutenant Derek Wamego, Sergeant Tyrel Askren, Sergeant Nicole Burdiek, Sergeant Jordan Byers, Sergeant Josh Peters, Officer Michael Barnhart, Officer Alexander Batstone, Officer Tanner Lemery, Officer Derek Tuck and Officer Justin Wunder.