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Fri June 22, 2007
Congress Might Tackle Crime On the Res
Laramie, WY – US Senators are considering forming a congressional commission to look for a solution to skyrocketing violent crime on American Indian reservations. Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota chairs the Indian Affairs Committee. He called the increase in rapes, murders, gang shootings and brazen crimes on reservations in recent years "unbelievable" and said it is the responsibility of Congress to fix it. Tribal leaders testified to the committee yesterday about their frustrations with the Bureau of Indian Affairs police and the Justice Department, which is responsible for major crimes on reservations. The commission was the suggestion of former Minnesota US Attorney Thomas Heffelfinger, who also testified. He said the Justice Department alone doesn't have the clout or the interest in fixing the problems. Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd says the agency is "firmly committed to combating crime in Indian Country."