Tribal Law Enforcement Agencies Grow Rapidly but Remain Under-Resourced
The Census of Tribal Law Enforcement Agencies (CTLEA), which NORC at the University of Chicago conducted on behalf of the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), is providing data to help tribal law enforcement agencies meet the needs of their communities.
Tribal law enforcement agencies are spread thin…
A recently published report from the 2018 CTLEA shows that the number of tribal law enforcement agencies serving these communities grew by 31 percent (from 178 to 234), and the number of tribal law enforcement officers grew by 28 percent (from 2,999 to 3,834) between 2008 and 2018. Yet tribal law enforcement agencies are still spread thin, with 3,834 full-time officers fielding 2 million calls for service and making 162,190 arrests in 2018.
…and have a wide range of duties
The survey also provided insights into the way tribal law enforcement agencies operate and the unique challenges they face. Survey responses indicate that many tribal law enforcement officers perform duties like sheriff’s deputies, such as patrolling large rural areas or serving court orders. About half of all tribal law enforcement officers are American Indian and Alaska Native.
Preparation for a 2024 version of the survey is currently underway. To ensure the 2024 survey collects the data communities need and want, NORC is hosting community listening sessions, a tribal justice panel, and conducting interviews with tribal law enforcement agencies. The survey data will be made publicly available and may help tribal leaders and tribal law enforcement identify public safety gaps in their communities or seek tribal or federal resources to close them.
This article is from our flagship newsletter, NORC Now. NORC Now keeps you informed of the full breadth of NORC’s work, the questions we help our clients answer, and the issues we help them address.