Bureau Of Justice Statistics Conducts First Census Of Tribal Law Enforcement Agencies In The United States

Historic survey designed to provide hard evidence for policy and resource allocation decisions related to staffing, training, equipment, operations, and more

WASHINGTON, DC, Aug. 8, 2019 – The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) has begun data collection for the 2019 Census of Tribal Law Enforcement Agencies (CTLEA). This survey is the first BJS statistical collection that will focus solely on tribal law enforcement agencies operating in Indian country. Survey questions were developed in consultation with tribal leaders, federal agencies, and tribal justice agencies, and will collect information about the operations of tribal law enforcement agencies and the unique characteristics of providing law enforcement services on tribal lands.

The CTLEA will gather data from each federally recognized tribe that has a tribal law enforcement agency, from conservation and wildlife enforcement agencies, and from tribal college campus police.

The CTLEA will benefit tribal law enforcement by:
  • providing a means for tribal justice agencies to educate and inform others about their work
  • assisting tribes in collecting information that can be used to justify budgetary requests
  • providing baseline information to gauge the changing environment in which tribal law enforcement agencies work
  • describing the unique challenges that tribal law enforcement agencies face
  • informing tribal, national, state, and local policymakers and funding sources of the needs of tribal law enforcement agencies

“There are well-trained and effective law enforcement agencies throughout Indian country,” said Jesse Delmar, executive director of the Navajo Nation Department of Public Safety, which was among 30 tribal law enforcement, FBI, and Bureau of Indian Affairs offices that attended a 2016 panel meeting in Arizona to advise BJS on the information needed to develop the CTLEA. “A persistent challenge for many years has been to build an overall picture of the tribal public safety system,” he added. “This census is an important step in that direction, and we are encouraging all tribal police agencies to participate fully in this effort.”

The data collected in the census will be used to describe the functions of tribal law enforcement agencies, their needs, and the unique challenges they face across the country. This information will provide empirical support to the public, tribal governments, and law enforcement agencies for policy and resource allocation decisions related to staffing, training, equipment, operations, criminal justice information systems, and technology. An additional goal of the census is to provide quality estimates of police workload activities, including calls for service, arrests, and citations.

BJS is authorized to collect these data and will use them solely for research and statistical purposes as described in Title 42, U.S.C. §3735 and §3789g. NORC at the University of Chicago, along with assistance from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, will act as the data collection agent. Additional information can be found at the NORC website. A report summarizing the information will be made available on the BJS website. For additional information about the CTLEA, please contact NORC via email at CTLEA@norc.org or call 1‑877‑346‑5693.


About NORC at the University of Chicago
NORC at the University of Chicago is an objective, non-partisan research institution that delivers reliable data and rigorous analysis to guide critical programmatic, business, and policy decisions. Since 1941, NORC has conducted groundbreaking studies, created and applied innovative methods and tools, and advanced principles of scientific integrity and collaboration. Today, government, corporate, and nonprofit clients around the world partner with NORC to transform increasingly complex information into useful knowledge.

Contact: For more information, contact Eric Young for NORC at young-eric@norc.org or (703) 217-6814 (cell).