Daily News: Tribal Officers Acted ‘Improperly’ Holding Mason County Hunters

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.

2 thoughts on “Daily News: Tribal Officers Acted ‘Improperly’ Holding Mason County Hunters

  1. Why don’t you actually get the correct story and report it. This seems to be very biased against the Officer and believe it or not but Officers, just like any other person, are innocent until proven guilty. Other news sources state the Officers acted within what they believed to be within their lawful authority and in good faith. Why isn’t this information reported?

  2. The officer found exceeding his authority was quoted as saying, “I was aware there was no modern elk rifle season open in that area, except tribal.”

    Ah, yes. “Except, tribal…”

    I hope he is prosecuted to the full extent of the – or, should I say, OUR -law.

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