By JONAH LOSSIAH
One Feather Staff
Most of Thursday’s (Nov. 18) meeting of the EBCI Police Commission was spent with Cherokee Indian Police Department (CIPD) Chief Josh Taylor.
Taylor was there to provide the CIPD annual report as well as offering updates to the Commission.
The Police Chief said that the next piece of business he is looking to get approved is a move that would amend the termination policy for the CIPD.
“I’m getting ready to send a resolution in. It’s that I’ll have the power such that as the sheriff, that I can terminate at will. When I say terminate at will, I have word it as ‘I no longer need their services.’ But there’s certain employees that have had good work evaluations for years, years, and years and they’ve not done anything. So, it’s hard to demote, it’s hard to hold them accountable,” said Taylor.
“It may go, and it may not. But they’ve been on me about changing the culture. They’ve been on me about putting a better product out to the community. I gotta do what I gotta do,” he continued.
Among the first things he told the Commission was that the Justin Wade from Tribal Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) has been helping the Police Department with his K-9.
“When they can. They still have their jobs to do. But they have a really well-known K-9 that’s certified nationally. It’s rock and roll for us. Because as of right now our K-9 program is suspended,” said Taylor.
The Police Chief said that the department needs to take a closer look at the K-9 program and that there is some work to do policy-wise before that can reinstitute it.
Taylor insisted that he is doing everything he can raise the levels at the CIPD.
“There just shouldn’t be a reason we shouldn’t be the bee’s knees west of Mecklenburg (County). Just being honest. There’s no reason. We have the funding, we have the money, we have the technology. We should really be the standard.”
He explained that it’s not as simple as going in and changing policies. He says that systemic change is necessary to build the department into what the community needs.
“The Police Department’s been neglected for a long time. It’s behind the curve. There was never really any checks and balances about anything, and it’s really just been neglected.”
Taylor said that the CIPD is looking to hire multiple positions. He singled out that he desperately needs a Victim Advocate on staff that can also work with public affairs.
“I need a victim advocate to talk to people and let them know the processes of the cases. A lot of our Tribal members don’t understand from step A to step B from the crime committing to the final closing.”
Commission Vice Chair Buddy Johnson asked how the Police Department fared with their budget for the new fiscal year. The Police Commission had spoken with John Nations of the Tribal Marshals earlier in the meeting, and Nations had reported that the Marshals received cuts to their equipment budget. For fiscal year 2021, the CIPD operated on a budget of $10,048,480.
“No, I jacked everything up and they didn’t even question it. I got them training money in there. There was no training money in there before. I jacked everything up. From ammunition to cars,” said Taylor.
Johnson explained the Marshal’s situation and questioned why Taylor thought that might be the case.
“Because nobody showed up to explain it, guys. If you don’t show up…listen, if you go in there and fight for what you want, you go in there and articulate what you need, they’re going to help you. Council’s not going to tell you no when it comes to EMS, Fire, or the Police. People just don’t like to talk,” said Taylor.
Taylor finished open session by saying that he needs enrolled members interested in law enforcement to come by and apply. He said that the CIPD is working to establish a basic law enforcement training class on the Boundary for the summer of 2022 and encourages anybody with interest to look into applying.
The Police Commission and Police Chief finished the meeting in a closed session to speak on personnel issues and other sensitive details.
The Thursday, Nov. 18 meeting of the EBCI Police Commission was called to order just after 12 p.m. with Chairperson Tunney Crowe and Commissioners Lisa Taylor, Kym Parker, Solomon Saunooke, Hillary Norville present. Vice Chair Buddy Johnson was a few minutes late to the meeting. Secretary Anita Lossiah and Commissioner Frank Dunn were excused absentees for the meeting.
The next meeting of the Commission is set for Thursday, Dec. 9 at noon. The Commission gathers monthly and has been meeting in the large conference room at the Ginger Lynn Welch complex. These sessions are open to the public.