After fifteen years, the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe is calling it quits on a partnership with the City of Flandreau.
The Joint Powers agreement between the two entities .. is coming to an end.
It means the two entities will now look to establish their own individual police departments versus the combined force they've had since the year 2000.
And they're working fast.. as the historic partnership between the two officially comes to an end September 8th.
The partnership over the years has been recognized by Harvard University. The International Association of Chiefs of Police has even cited the Joint Powers agreement between the City of Flandreau and the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe .. as a "Promising Practice for Improving Safety in Indian Country".
But after 15 years, the historic joint powers agreement between the two entities will soon end. The tribe late last week, let the city know, it is in the process of establishing its own police force.
"To be able to combine initially was a great idea, and just like a lot of things, sometimes they just don't work out at the end," said FSST President, Tony Reider.
The initial agreement, back in 2000, aimed to consolidate resources, law enforcement services and train officers to deal respectfully and responsibly with all citizens, Native and non-Native. And, it has accomplished many of those goals over the years.
"Any governmental entities, we're going to have some issues. But by far, it's worked good for the city and FSST," said Flandreau Mayor, Mark Bonrud.
But both city and tribal officials agree an ongoing lack of good communication probably led to a breakdown in the partnership.
"We've got our own citizens that ask us questions and why we did certain things and why certain things happened .. and we don't have answers for them. That doesn't look good on us. And, when we're unable to get those answers, it makes it that much more difficult," said Reider.
City officials.. and tribal officials would all argue they've tried to communicate. There are simply differences of opinion and quite honestly, laws and goals when it comes to tribal entities versus non-tribal.
Regardless, the city and tribe still plan to partner routinely on calls where mutual aid may be needed. But right now, both are preparing for their own police departments come September 8th.
The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe has also been funding a school resource officer position within Flandreau Public Schools and that's been a big question for the community - what will happen there?
Reider says it is a priority for the tribe to continue to fund an officer in that role.