Tribal Police

To ensure the safety and security of Band members and local communities, the Mille Lacs Band has a Tribal Police Department, which began in 1984 with one officer and has grown to employ over 20 full-time officers. The Tribal Police Department is located in the Mille Lacs Band Government Center.

The Tribal Police Department has concurrent jurisdiction with the Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Department over all persons in the geographic boundaries of the band’s trust lands; all tribal members within the boundaries of the reservation; and all persons within the boundaries of the reservation who commit or attempt to commit a crime in the presence of a Band police officer. The Mille Lacs County Sheriff is responsible for receiving persons arrested by the band’s peace officers, and the Mille Lacs County Attorney is responsible for prosecuting such violators.

In 1953 Congress enacted Public Law 280, in part because of the absence of adequate tribal institutions for law enforcement. Public Law 280 applies to six states, including Minnesota. It required the state to assume criminal jurisdiction over all Indian reservations within the state with the exception of Red Lake and Bois Forte. That jurisdiction does not extend, however, to criminal statutes the courts would classify as “civil-regulatory” rather than “criminal-prohibitory” under Public Law 280.

According to Minnesota Statute 626.90, the boundaries of the reservation are defined by the Treaty of February 22, 1855. The 1855 reservation includes the townships of Kathio, South Harbor and Isle Harbor in Mille Lacs County. Additional Mille Lacs Band trust lands are located in Aitkin and Pine counties.