Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,300,000)
The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) permanent homeland is located in the western edge of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The KBIC L’Anse Reservation is located on the southern shore of Lake Superior. KBIC has the largest land mass of all tribes in Michigan with 59,072 acres, incorporating 240 miles of roads. The Tribal Police jurisdiction is large. KBIC has 3586 enrolled members with 1044 scattered non-contiguously throughout Baraga County, in Ontonagon County, and on trust properties 83 miles away in Marquette County.
The KBIC Tribal Police Department has a current staff of 8 full time and 2 part time sworn officers with a SORNA Coordinator, criminal investigator, two on call staffers, a cadet and secretary/dispatch person. These 19 department members work out of an old, 6600 square foot building that served as a tire shop immediately prior to being repurposed into the police department. An example of the condition of the building is that, during the viability assessment by a contracted engineer, it was found that the electrical wiring in the building is a bundled mess of wires running through the drop ceiling. Funding of this Purpose Area 4 grant application will allow KBIC to renovate the facility to make the police department safe, secure, efficient and, state of the art.
Included in the renovation is the addition of two holding cells, and a forensic interview room. Currently, it is not uncommon for a detainee to be released on a personal recognizance bond pending arraignment due to the lack of a holding facility. KBIC contracts four beds in the Baraga County Jail for members sentenced to jail terms. Also, the current facility does not have a room designated for forensic interviewing. Tribal police conducted over 1500 interviews in 2021. Even the Social Services Department conducts interviews of children in a vacant office. The newly renovated forensic interview room will offer safety, privacy and state of the art recording. The quality of evidence collected, and the mental health of those being interviewed will both benefit from the renovation.
The proposed Purpose Area 4 renovation project will not only benefit the Tribal Police Department, but it will also benefit the public safety of the greater community.