MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Two years after Mille Lacs County voted to end a law enforcement agreement with tribal police, a new agreement has been made.

In 2016, the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe denounced the county’s decision to end a 25-year agreement that the tribe says improved the region’s law enforcement by leveraging the additional capabilities of the Mille Lacs Band’s 32-tribe funded police officers.

On Tuesday, the tribe announced a new joint powers agreement on law enforcement between the two entities.

“The past two years have been tragic and difficult years on the Mille Lacs Reservation,” Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin said. “The reinstatement of the law enforcement agreement is the beginning of a long journey in restoring law, order and hope in our community. This journey will take many years.”

According to the tribe, the agreement reinstated an arrangement under which the “County recognizes that Band police hold concurrent authority with the County Sheriff to enforce state law within the Mille Lacs Reservation in defined circumstances, and which provides for the cooperative exercise of such authority.”

Mille Lacs County Sheriff Brent Lindgren said he has remained committed to maintaining a cooperative law enforcement agreement with the Band.

“This agreement is the result of many difficult decisions and compromises from the Band and County,” Lindgren said. “I now look forward to implementing this new Mutual Aid/Cooperative Agreement over my few remaining months as Sheriff.”

It’s unclear whether the new agreement will have any effect on the tribe’s pending litigation it has filed against the county.

The agreement takes effect immediately.


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