Tribes Unite Law Enforcement, Courts in New Building


A building designed to bring law enforcement, the judiciary, and police communications under one roof officially opened this afternoon in New Town.

The ribbon was cut on the MHA Nation Public Safety and Judicial Center by the tribal chairman and lieutenant governor.

Jim Olson was there.

For decades, going to tribal court has been an uncertain thing on the Fort Berthold Reservation.

(Lawrence Baker, Tribal Member) “The biggest thing is where’s the court? It started out in Mandaree, and it went to a building over here, it’s in a building over there, it’s in a building over here…”

Well now, it’s in this building – the 17-million dollar MHA Nation Public Safety and Judicial Center. 

Tribal Chairman Mark Fox got lots of help in cutting the ribbon on the center – and says it took lots of help to make it a reality.

(Mark Fox, MHA Nation Tribal Chairman) “I’m so proud of where our tribes have come in this project – the decision to do this.”

Fox said a 60% drop in oil tax revenue in recent years made it hard for the tribal council to continue down the path toward finishing the project.

(Mark Fox, MHA Nation Tribal Chairman) “It was hard. You had to say no to this and no to that but on this they said yes, let’s keep building it.”

The center houses everything from a state-of-the-art communications center

(Mark Fox, MHA Nation Tribal Chairman) “To literally watch over our whole reservation.”

To three courtrooms, to tribal law enforcement headquarters including federal offices, to the rotunda where the grand opening ceremony was held. It was blessed in a traditional way, and given thumbs up by the lieutenant governor…

(Brent Sanford, N.D. Lieutenant Governor) “Respect, reverence, healing, growth, this place is a wonderful example of that.”

And by a key federal prosecutor.

(Clare Hochhalter, Federal Prosecutor) “To see this facility and this commitment to law and order on the reservation is absolutely incredible.”

Chairman Fox said the design of the facility makes an important statement.

(Mark Fox, MHA Nation Tribal Chairman) “When people drive by or when they come to a building like this, they know that something of great importance happens here.”

And it’s hapening starting now. In New Town, Jim Olson, KX News.

Chairman Fox says there are more major projects to come for the tribes, including a new drug treatment center being built in Bismarck.


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