By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
One Feather Staff
The Cherokee Police Commission discussed several issues during their regular monthly meeting on Thursday, Aug. 11 including drug activity on the Qualla Boundary as well as self-governance for law enforcement of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI).
“We’ve got to figure out what’s best for the community,” said Tunney Crowe, Police Commission chairman, as he discussed drug activity in the community. “That’s what we’re there for – to protect the community. We hear all the time about needles laying everywhere. We hear there are kids stepping on them or they’re around where kids play in the playgrounds. I feel like the more police presence we’ve got, the better off we are.”
He added, “We’re trying to keep the community safe.”
Carla Neadeau, interim Chief of Cherokee Indian Police Dept. (CIPD) gave a report and offered the following statistics for the month of July 2022:
- Calls for service: 2,107 (average of 65/day)
- 87 arrests
- 38 accidents
- 226 citations
- Adult female 5
- Adult male 12
- Federal cases 0
- Tribal cases 11
- State cases 7
- Cash seized $0
- Firearms seized 0
- Fatal overdoses 0
- Non-fatal overdoses 6 (1 female, 5 male)
- Processed marijuana: 85g, street value $1,700
- MDMA (Ecstasy): 52g, street value $1,040
- Crystal Meth: 1g, street value $200
- Opioid/Opioid Derivative including Fentanyl: 60g, street value $12,000
- Heroin: 5g, street value $1,000
- Other Drug (Prescription): none
- All other drugs (Schedule IV): none
The EBCI Natural Resources Enforcement (NRE) report offered states that a total of 38 citations involving 40 charges were issued during the month of July 2022. Included in those charges were 31 for fishing or hunting violations, 7 traffic violations, and 2 others. The charges were as follows: exceeding creel limit (1), fishing without a permit (6), fishing with more than one line (1), illegally caught trout (1), hunting or fishing without a proper license (20), use of improper equipment (2), operating an UTV without valid ORV sticker (2), and traffic citations (7).
The EBCI Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) July 2022 report offered the following statistics:
- Methamphetamine 1g
- Fentanyl .5g
- Various Scheduled Pills 11
ALE officers made 15 arrests and seized zero firearms on the month. They make over 200 establishment inspections with 0 violations and 2 warnings issued. ALE served as back-up to 98 CIPD traffic stops and made 19 traffic stops on their own.
Also during Thursday’s meeting, the idea of self-governance for EBCI Law Enforcement was discussed.
Interim Chief Neadeau commented, “On the self-governance issue, I want to say that Hannah (Smith) is working towards that, but we’re not there yet. They are planning on submitting the self-governance paperwork in March 2023 for the P.D.”
Chairman Crowe noted, “What we’re trying to do, just so everybody knows, is to get rid of the BIA involvement with our jail and with our police department and for the Tribe to be in a self-governance position.”
Chris Siewers, representative from the EBCI Attorney General’s Office, said about self-governance, “It would loosen the strings that are currently attached to the contracts that the federal government has to protect the money in the way that it’s currently distributed now. We’ve got certain strings that are attached. By going the self-governance route, those strings will diminish.”
The Thursday, Aug. 11 meeting of the Police Commission was called to order just after 12 p.m. with Chairman Tunney Crowe, Vice Chairman Buddy Johnson, Secretary Anita Lossiah (via Teams); and Commissioners Lisa Taylor, Kym Parker, Frank Dunn, and Hillary Norville present. Commissioner Soloman Saunooke was absent.
The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 8 at 12 p.m. in the Ginger Lynn Welch Complex large conference room. These sessions are open to EBCI tribal members until the Commission moves into an executive (closed) session.