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Montana to Congress: fully fund law enforcement on reservations

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

Joint resolution SJ5 in the Montana state legislature pushes Congress to not only fully fund public safety and law enforcement agencies, and services on tribal reservations in Montana but also calls to fund their courts, detention facilities, people who need attorneys, victims and juvenile services, rehab and reentry programs and crime prevention programs.

Sen. Bob Brown, R-Trout Creek sponsored the measure and has called on each of Montana’s tribal governments and Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte to adopt and send similar resolutions to the U.S. Congress and the Montana Secretary of State’s Office by June 30.

Five representatives from reservations or law enforcement on reservations testified in favor of the measure. They explained they were severely underfunded and in the face of rising crime need more federal money to support law enforcement and public safety programs.

Despite almost every law enforcement agencies in Montana faced with increased crime rates in their jurisdictions, reservation law enforcement is struggling more due to the inability to hire and retain officers based on lack of funds.

SJ5 comes as Lake County moves to withdraw from Public Law 280, a decades-long agreement with the state over law enforcement funding on the Flathead Reservation.

Additionally, a bill that would require the state to provide funding under that law is set for a hearing this week.

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