PHOENIX, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- Federal agencies and tribal police are improving cooperation to fight crime on Indian reservations, Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke said.
Better communications are paying off, Burke told The Arizona Republic.
Burke said Arizona's 22 Indian tribes are seeing an improved public-safety system, with more agents and federal attorneys assigned to go after reservation criminals.
Jurisdictional confusion among the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the FBI and tribal police, and inadequate training and poor relations between federal and tribal investigators have impeded justice on reservations and let crime flourish, the newspaper reported Monday.
American Indian women suffer from violent crime at a rate more than twice the national average. More than one-third are raped during their lifetimes, the Department of Justice said.
Pledging to repair the justice system for reservations, President Barack Obama signed the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010, which increases the authority of Indian police and lets reservation courts issue felony sentences of up to three years.
Learning of problems with rape cases on the Navajo Reservation, Burke requested records of every incident reported to tribal medical workers in the past 18 months, vowing no rape will go unprosecuted.