The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe has been awarded a $1.6 million Department of Justice grant to improve public safety.
Of that amount, $898,918 is for public safety and community policing, and $748,013 was awarded to the tribe for justice systems and alcohol and substance abuse.
The announcement was made at the annual Four Corners Indian Country Conference, which is being held this year in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
“Productivity and prosperity can only grow where crime is reduced,” said U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Colorado continues to do all it can to give prosperity on our tribal lands a fighting chance.”
Ute Mountain Public Safety Director John Trocheck said the funding is a big boost for tribe services.
“We’re in the process of rebuilding our law enforcement department,” he said. “We have had trouble recruiting for qualified officers, and this funding will help us in that effort and to provide training.”
Currently, the Towaoc Police Department has four openings for officers.
Nationwide, grants were awarded to 133 American Indian tribes and Alaska Native Villages. Of the $113 million, just over $53 million comes from the Office of Justice Programs, more than $35 million from the Office on Violence Against Women and more than $24.7 million from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
In addition, the police department is in the process of allocating up to $133 million in a new set-aside program to serve victims of crime in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. The awards are intended to help tribes develop, expand and improve services to victims of crime by providing funding, programming and technical assistance. Recipients have not been announced.
“There is an unacceptable level of violent crime and domestic abuse in American Indian and Alaska Native communities,” Deputy Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio said at the 26th Annual Four Corners Indian Country Conference in Santa Fe on Sept. 18.
This increase in resources, together with our aggressive investigation and prosecution of crimes, shows how seriously Attorney General Sessions and the entire Department of Justice take these issues. We are committed to reducing violent crime and improving public safety.”