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Op-Ed: All South Dakotans should demand to be safe in their homes

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South Dakotans, Native and Non-Native, deserve and should demand to be safe in their homes, on their streets, and at their places of work. As Attorney General, and as a former US Attorney, State’s Attorney, and Tribal Prosecutor, I do not accept “jurisdiction” as an impediment to the ability and responsibility of law enforcement to collectively protect everyone in South Dakota, on and off reservations.

We can always strive to do better. Recent publicity has shed light on the importance to build upon and strengthen what law enforcement is already doing to protect all South Dakotans including the following:

Joint training of tribal officers at the State Attorney General’s facility including now a separate class dedicated to officers on and near our reservations.Joint drug and violent crime task forces with our tribal, federal, state, and local partners.Joint powers agreements between the state and tribes for law enforcement presence and assistance.Joint victim related services.Child advocacy and sexual abuse task forces.A dedicated position for missing and murdered indigenous persons established within the Attorney General’s Office.

This is our chance to carry out the Year of Reconciliation Governor George S. Mickelson started. Perhaps it has already begun with the dedicated joint law enforcement class, which was supported by Governor Noem, and the regional training efforts by Senators Rounds and Thune.

We need to realize this opportunity over the political noise. I will do my part as everyone’s Attorney General, and I plan to visit and continue the conversation with our tribal partners on how law enforcement can better partner and protect all South Dakotans.

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