Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced that he secured $2.5 million for Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) law enforcement specialized training courses at Camp Grafton to help address law enforcement needs in Indian Country. Hoeven has been working with the Interior Department and state officials, including Governor Doug Burgum and North Dakota National Guard Adjutant General Al Dohrmann, to host advanced BIA law enforcement trainings in North Dakota. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Hoeven secured the crucial law enforcement funding in fiscal year (FY) 2020 for BIA to increase training options closer to home and help address law enforcement vacancies in the Great Plains and today the Interior Department signed off on a proposal to conduct the trainings at Camp Grafton.
As chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Hoeven held a committee field hearing last year on public safety in tribal communities at United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck. At the hearing, the senator heard from federal, tribal and state officials, including Governor Burgum, about the need for more tribal law enforcement officers in the Great Plains region. According to BIA, the Great Plains region currently accounts for 62% of all BIA law enforcement vacancies. Since then, Hoeven has been working to secure funding and approval for a new BIA law enforcement training center to train law enforcement to serve in tribal communities. Today’s commitment from BIA marks an important step in those efforts.
“This $2.5 million investment in establishing new BIA law enforcement specialized training courses at Camp Grafton will help provide important skills to BIA law enforcement officers so they are better able to serve our tribal communities, and represents an important commitment from BIA in advancing our goal of establishing a full-fledged training facility at Camp Grafton,” Hoeven said. “Given that currently the only option for BIA law enforcement training is in New Mexico, Camp Grafton is an ideal location to provide individuals in our region with training options closer to home.”
“As one of the region’s premier training centers, Camp Grafton is a prime location for this specialized training facility, which will produce a talented and robust pool of much-needed BIA and tribal police officers trained at the highest level closer to their homes, friends, family and culturally important ties,” Burgum said. “We’re deeply grateful to the Department of Interior for adopting this proposal and especially to Sen. Hoeven for his strong collaboration with the Governor’s Office, North Dakota National Guard Adjutant General Al Dohrmann and our tribal partners to advance this project and secure the necessary funding to make it happen.”
Training operations at Camp Grafton are expected to begin in the fall and will include advanced courses to train current federal law enforcement officers on complex subject matter often faced in the field—such as missing and murdered women and children, drug investigations and the important Bridge Program. The Bridge Program allows for officers with local or state training to become federally certified. In working with Interior and BIA, this two-pronged approach has been found to be one of the most effective paths to addressing the vacancy concerns and ensuring that our tribal communities are properly served.