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Iowa DCI: “New legal issues” need consideration over Meskwaki law enforcement

January 10, 2019
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

An Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation spokesperson said it has been recognized "new legal issues" have arisen after the recent federal action has placed responsibility for law enforcement on the Meskwaki Settlement at rural Tama, Toledo and Montour to the Tribe.

Iowa DCI Assistant Director Mitch Mortvedt replied in an email inquiry to The Chronicle "Now that the retrocession of jurisdiction has been completed and the Meskwaki are a sovereign nation with sole authority over the land owned by the Tribe, there are many new legal issues that will need to be considered by the Iowa Attorney General; the legal counsel for any cities or counties affected; and the Tribe's Attorney General."

The directive was issued to Tama County Sheriff Dennis Kucera from Meskwaki Tribal Attorney General Jay Finch in a Dec. 13 letter requiring permission from the Meskwaki Nation Police Department before any member of the sheriff's office enters the Meskwaki Settlement.

It came following President Trump's signing of H.R. 1074, the bill passing jurisdiction from the State of Iowa back to the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, on Dec. 11.

Mortvedt said "no direct communication" with the DCI had been received from Finch, but the letter to Kucera had been forwarded to the division by the sheriff's office.

The Iowa State Patrol has not yet responded to Chronicle inquiries about the Meskwaki law enforcement status.



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