By JONAH LOSSIAH
One Feather Reporter
The EBCI Police Commission hosted their monthly meeting in the conference room at the offices of the Bureau of Indian Affairs on Thursday, March 9.
The meeting was primarily used to gather updates on projects and from the different partners that report to the Commission.
The first to report was the Office of the Tribal Prosecutors. Shelli Buckner, senior tribal prosecutor, provided a report from both January and February of this year. Along with convictions numbers, Buckner also said that she would be sending the court calendar to the Commission so that they can observe Cherokee Court at their discretion.
Convictions from the Office of the Tribal Prosecutors, Jan. 1 to Feb. 28:
- Alcoholic beverages – 1
- Banishment/exclusion – 1
- Bodily Injury – 7
- Child Victim – 6
- Controlled Substances – 20
- Domestic Violence – 7
- DWI – 1
- Elder Abuse – 2
- Obstruction of Justice – 20
- Property – 19
- Public Peace – 2
- Weapons – 3
Vice Chairperson Buddy Johnson asked Buckner if the prosecutors had considered working with the mental health programs on the Boundary and in the area in order to help understand more about the individuals involved with these convictions. Specifically, those that are involved in substance abuse and behavioral issues.
“I’m so glad that you mentioned that. We’re actually in the process of trying to build out an internship with the Master’s of Social Work program over at [Western Carolina University]. They currently have some social work students placed with the police department in Sylva, and from what I understand it has been a big success in terms of having folks be available for some of these situations. What we really need is more of social work intervention in addition to law enforcement intervention. Agreed, we need to start looking at what is the underlying issue here,” said Buckner.
The only other outside report to the meeting was Chief of Police Carla Neadeau. She read off the police report, including the following information:
- Calls for Service – 1493
- Calls for Service by Cherokee County Sheriffs to Casino – 19
- Arrests – 61
- Accidents – 22
- Citations – 63
- Drugs Seized (dollar amount represents ‘street value’)
- Processed Marijuana – $42,188
- Crystal Meth – $55,040
- Opioid/Opioid Derivative – $1,700
- Heroin – $6,380
- Other Drugs (Prescription) – $397.50
- Total Value – $105,705.50
- Total value in FY23 – $118,576.50
She then fielded questions from the Commission. Frank Dunn wanted clarification on a rumor he had heard that said Tribal Council had reviewed a video of the incident involving former Wolftown Tribal Council Rep. Bo Crowe. Chief Neadeau and Police Department Attorney Cody White said this was not the case, and that any footage that may have been produced did not come from the CIPD or the Office of the Prosecutor.
Secretary Anita Lossiah offered an update on the ODMAP project and showed the Commission a preview of the Admin Dashboard that has been crafted. She also gave an update to the commissioners regarding registration for the midyear meeting of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), specifically the Indian Country Law Enforcement Section of the IAPC. This conference is being held from April 3 to April 5 in Arizona.
The Police Commission finished their meeting in a closed session for ‘attorney-client privilege’.
The Thursday, March 9 meeting of the EBCI Police Commission was called to order at 12 p.m. with Chairperson Tunney Crowe; Vice Chair Buddy Johnson; Secretary Anita Lossiah; and Commissioners Lisa Taylor, Kym Parker, Frank Dunn, and Hillary Norville present. Commissioner Solomon Saunooke was absent.
The next meeting of the Police Commission is set for Thursday, April 13 at noon. The Commission gathers monthly, and meeting places have been alternating in recent months. These sessions are open to tribal members until the Commission moves into an executive session.