Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $784,000)
Members of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe live in two separate regions, the Towaoc community in Colorado, and the White Mesa community in Utah, approximately 75 minutes apart by car. Today, while public, community, and social services are available in Towaoc, the White Mesa satellite is largely without these resources. The White Mesa community exists without a reliable law enforcement presence. Without dedicated officers, White Mesa has been unable to secure a mutual aid contract with San Juan County, Utah. The community is not served by a patrol department. There are no federal law enforcement officers or Tribal law enforcement officers. Officially under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Indian Affairs Law Enforcement, response times for 911 calls surpass 90 minutes, when a response is dispatched at all.
Trained law enforcement officers are essential to carrying out community-oriented policing strategies. With funding, UMUT will establish a law enforcement presence in White Mesa. Funds will support salaries and benefits of four full-time and one part-time (4.5 FTE) Sworn Officers hired through the UMUT Office of Public Safety, establishing an OPS location in White Mesa. Funds will also support the purchase of four patrol vehicles, officer uniforms, and officer gear. In White Mesa, Sworn Officers will engage in community patrols; interacting with the community; responding to criminal incidents; utilizing case management system to enter critical data to support diversion and/or prosecution as appropriate; participating in training regarding evidence-based community-oriented policing techniques; monitor for suspicious and criminal activity; early identification; engaging local youth and the community; fostering goodwill and mutual respect; protecting wildlife and Tribal cultural or historical artifacts; responding to threats, incidents or disasters; and coordinating responses and community-oriented policing strategies, among many other roles that protect public safety and enhance quality of life. The officers will support other Tribal departments and, importantly, serve to expand Towaoc community initiatives into White Mesa (e.g., Recidivism Reduction Initiative, Domestic Violence Reduction Initiative) through collaboration, referral, resource sharing, data collection and data sharing activities, strengthening the connection between White Mesa and Towaoc. The OPS White Mesa Sworn Officers will lead the Community Response Team to address suicide prevention, domestic violence, human trafficking, child abuse, and substance use challenges, and offer quarterly awareness and education events for the public. It is critical that a local law enforcement presence is established in White Mesa as an expansion of the UMUT Office of Public Safety.