Duchesne County Sheriff Claire Poulson says he will go ahead with plans to cross-deputize three Bureau of Indian Affairs law officers, even though a tribal court judge has ruled such agreements violate tribal law.
Poulson said Friday he will honor his commitment to deputize BIA officers who have completed state training. He described it as a show of good faith.Once federal Indian officers are cross-deputized, they will be able act anywhere in Duchesne County, including the city of Roosevelt, under the authorization of the sheriff's department, Poulson said.
However, BIA Superintendent Perry Baker said the agreement was on hold until a ruling by Judge Katheryn Jenks is resolved.
"Until things are ironed out, all law enforcement agencies in the Uintah Basin are simply to detain any Indian suspects for BIA police," he said, adding that the BIA will hold non-Indian suspects for county and city officers.
Last week, Jenks ruled the tribal business committee had failed to pass a resolution prior to signing the agreement with law enforcement agencies in Uintah and Duchesne counties.
Jenks ruled that an Indian drunken driving suspect had been illegally arrested by a Utah Highway Patrol officer. Since the ruling, the BIA has told state, city and county officers to detain Indian suspects for BIA officers, who will make arrests.
Meantime, the BIA was preparing an appeal to the tribal court of appeals and a group of tribal members began circulating petitions to call for a referendum vote on the agreement.
Luke Duncan, a member of the group circulating petitions, said the arrangement "is unpopular because the business committee failed to put it up for inspection prior to signing off on the document."