Leaders from Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation Thursday met with Bureau of Indian Affairs officials to discuss the progress they’ve made halfway through a two-year crime-reducing initiative Rocky Boy is participating in with three other reservations across the country.
And BIA project coordinator Marcelino Toersbjins was impressed.
“This group is ahead of the other ones,” Toersbjins said. “In another three months, you’ll be established and an example to the other three sites.”
Rocky Boy Court Administrator Elinor Nault went over statistics that had been collected as a part of a newly implemented system.
These statistics covered such issues as the influence of drug or alcohol abuse and whether offenders were malicious and deliberate in their crime or if the offense is more accidental.
These rankings of juvenile crime showed that there were no minors in the deliberate criminal category, and Nault wants to keep it that way.
“We want to avoid overmonitoring the less-offending kids,” Nault said. “We don’t want to make them feel like criminals.
The juvenile statistics also showed a lot of the repeat offenders being the children of the adult repeat offenders.
Using these numbers and new numbers still to be released, Rocky Boy administrators are working on logic models to “target each crime (of a list of five most prevalent) and develop activities to help.”
Director of Public Safety Tim Martin and Rocky Boy Police Chief Rick Gardipee laid out what activities they have done and what they still need to accomplish.
Gardipee said the police department is working on developing a relationship with the community, starting with kids and working up.
Tasing an officer at Rocky Boy High School on Sept. 22 was a part of this effort. The plan is to repeat the event at Box Elder Middle School.
Another program is getting young people to paint over graffiti on the reservation with the goal of putting murals on those same walls.
They said the police department is still five officers short of its goal of 12.
The police department is working on recruiting officers and getting them to stay at Rocky Boy.
After the three-hour meeting, Toersbjins said Rocky Boy's progress is noticeably advanced.
So advanced that he said he wanted to fly leaders from the the other sites to Rocky Boy for the next group meeting so they could see what is being done.
Toersbjins said he would see if it's possible to send people from Rocky Boy to the other sites to offer training.
Leaders from Rocky Boy are heading to a Denver meeting with the bureau on Oct. 7, then another meeting at Rocky Boy about any more progress or initiatives is scheduled for Oct. 26.