Daily News: Tribal Officers Acted ‘Improperly’ Holding Mason County HuntersNovember 12th, 2009 by josh farley
Updating an earlier item, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office has found Port Gamble S’Klallam tribe’s natural resources officers acted “improperly” when detaining some Mason County elk hunters in Brinnon Oct. 3, according to the Peninsula Daily News.
Reporter Erik Hidle says both the sheriff’s office and the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife found the hunters, who had permission from the state to hunt the elk, had committed no violations and had not trespassed, and thus had committed no crime. The officers “lacked any legal authority to arrest or detain nontribal members off the reservation,” Hidle quoted Department of Fish and Wildlife Deputy Chief Mike Cenci as saying.
Here’s one additional snippet from the Peninsula Daily News story with a local connection:
“Jefferson County Sheriff’s Sgt. Mike Stringer, who is a former officer with Suquamish tribal police, has said that all tribal officers have jurisdiction only on tribal land, if they are dealing with tribal members or if they have a cross-commission from the sheriff.”
So what’s next?
The article indicates that Jefferson County prosecutors —
who might have help from the state’s attorney general’s office —
have the report and could file charges. Just what they file, if
they do, will remain a mystery for now.