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Increasing Critical Personnel in the Seminole Nation Justice System

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $900,009)

The Seminole Nation of Oklahoma will build the capacity of its justice system by hiring more security officers to protect its multipurpose justice building, which is currently monitored only by a single unarmed bailiff. Increased security is needed because the Nation’s caseload increased more than 300 percent after the McGirt v. Oklahoma Supreme Court decision, which returned the right to the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma to prosecute crimes committed on their land by tribal members. This increased caseload has drastically increased the foot traffic in the justice building. The Lighthouse Police Department had typically been called to deal with security incidents occurring at the building, but that has become more difficult as their call volume has increased 839 percent in the past year. Funding will allow the Seminole Nation to place two security officers at the entrance of the building and one in the courtroom. It will allow the Nation to keep occupants safe, better monitor and record the traffic flow inside the building, increase analyzable security data, and decrease time for response to deal with incidents. The Nation will also increase staffing of its promising new Diversion Program, Semvnole Etwvle Accountability and Achievement Program (SEAAP). This is important because substance misuse is a catalyst in the majority of criminal cases, so the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma needs to address the root causes to prevent future crimes.

Date Created: September 28, 2023