The latest Wisconsin tribe to start up its own police force will officially go on patrol for the first time later this month.
The Ho Chunk Nation’s police department created in 2010. Now, two years later, the three-member department has its first squad car. Police Chief Earl Lemieux says this modest beginning is still very important. It means the Ho Chunk can patrol their own tribal land.
"The biggest thing about the tribe having a police force is it’s a statement of sovereignty as a sovereign nation," he says. "Its one of the basic form of government, enact your own laws, enforce your own law, and be able to protect your people."
The lone Ho Chunk police car will patrol tribal land in the Black River Falls area. The Ho Chunk tribe has land in six Wisconsin counties. Lemieux says he’d like five or six more squad cars to cover that territory in the future. He says the Ho Chunk Nation police force is being funded with grant and tribal money.