Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $562,669)
The Nez Perce Tribe is a federally recognized Tribe encompassing five rural counties in north central Idaho - an area of 1,208 sq. miles close in size to the state of Rhode Island. Funding assistance is requested under CTAS Purpose Area 3 over the next five years to build capacity within the Nez Perce Law and Justice Department - specifically, to enable the Tribe to hire a full time bailiff to serve the Tribal Court, to establish a full time Tribal Court navigator/reception of resources position to serve the public at the Tribal Justice Center at Lapwai, Idaho, and to purchase needed equipment for Nez Perce Tribal Police and the justice system.
The Tribal Court does not have a bailiff and there have been recent incidents where Court officials and those attending felt their safety directly threatened by verbal assaults directed at Court personnel and at those present during hearings. Tribal Police currently have a shortage of law enforcement officers with a limited patrol presence covering the 1,208-sq. mi. reservation, therefore there is no assurance of an immediate response if needed at the justice center.
According to a recent BIA assessment of the Nez Perce Tribal Court, the bailiff position is needed as soon as possible in order to help establish increased public trust in the Tribal justice system to operate efficiently and with security and safety for the public.
Additionally, Purpose Area 3 would provide communications and security equipment (hand held radio system) needed by the bailiff and Tribal law and justice providers. The new system will enable enhanced communications for personnel while in the Nez Perce justice center and also in the field when officials such as Tribal Police, Child Welfare investigators, Probation officers, and victim services providers meet with clientele or respond directly to the scene of alleged violence or criminal activity.