New policing agreement reached for Mille Lacs reservation

Mille Lacs County and the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe have reached an agreement for policing the tribe’s reservation in central Minnesota.

The agreement that took effect Tuesday resolves a dispute that came to a head two years ago when the county terminated its law enforcement agreement with the band, ending 25 years of cooperation between the tribal police department and the county sheriff’s office.

Band leaders blamed the impasse for an increase in crime and opioid abuse, saying it left tribal police with insufficient authority to investigate crimes.

County Attorney Joe Walsh says the new agreement is very similar to the old pact, but spells out more clearly the roles of each agency.

The agreement doesn’t resolve a larger dispute between the county and the band over reservation boundaries.