Yakama Nation Granted Jurisdiction Over Some Crimes On Reservation

Oct 20, 2015

The Yakama Nation will have more control with its tribal police and courts over crimes committed on the nation’s reservation. That’s according to the federal Interior Department this week.

The Yakama Nation will have control over some crimes involving Native Americans, but other police agencies will still patrol portions of the reservation. Tribal leaders say it's a win to gain some control of their own land back.

But neighboring city and county agencies say they’re worried about the logistics of sharing jurisdiction.

Yakima County prosecutor Joseph Brusic said his office and the tribal government haven’t been communicating well for a couple years. He worries that under the new system for example, a native driver with a DUI could leave the scene of an accident if there wasn’t a tribal officer there.

The federal government has given the tribes and overlapping agencies until April to work out the details.

The Yakama Nation did not respond to phone or email messages Tuesday.