Tester Secures $3,573,360 in Department of Justice Funding to Support Tribal Law Enforcement

Grant funding to support victims, prevent crime in Indian Country

As a part of his continued work with Tribes in Montana to improve public safety, U.S. Senator Jon Tester secured $3,573,360 in Department of Justice funding to support Tribal law enforcement and keep communities safe.

“Keeping Montanans and our communities safe remain my top priority,” said Tester. “I’m proud to have worked with Tribal leadership and my colleagues across the aisle to secure this funding so that Tribes in Montana will have the necessary tools to hold criminals accountable and help victims recover.”

Funding secured by Tester for Tribes comes from four different Department of Justice Programs: The Crime Victim Fund (CVF) Tribal Set-Aside Program, the Community Oriented Policing (COPS) Program, Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) Coordinate Grant Program, and the FY22 Tribal Assistance Solicitation Competitive Grant Program.

CVF Tribal Set-Aside Grants can be used for any purpose directly related to serving victims of crime, and the Office for Victims of Crime encourages its Tribal partners to be creative and innovative in using the funds to provide culturally-relevant, linguistically-appropriate, victim-centered services. Recipients will use resources to implement services for victims of crime that meet needs identified by the community and reflect Tribal community values and traditions.

CVF Tribal Set-Aside recipients include:

  • $609,751 for the Crow Tribe
  • $719,669 for the Blackfeet Tribe
  • $504,456 for the Fort Peck Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes
  • $410,245 for the Chippewa Cree Tribe

Recipients of other grants include:

  • The Fort Belknap Indian Community will receive a $739,501 FY22 Coordinate Grant, which will be used to improve victim services, and to help prevent Murdered and Missing Indigenous Persons (MMIP) related incidents, and human trafficking instances. This will be accomplished by hiring two Victim/Witness Specialists (VWS) to help improve victim advocacy, connections to culture-based intervention services, and other local resources. The VWS will collaborate with other agencies such as the chief Tribal Prosecutor, Law Enforcement, the Criminal Investigator, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to improve local laws, policies, and protocols for victims of crime.
  • The Chippewa Cree Tribe will receive a $450,000 Tribal Assistance Solicitation Fiscal year 2022 Competitive Grant, which will enhance their current efforts to improve the investigation, prosecution, and handling of cases of criminal child abuse and neglect on the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation. Funds will be used to hire 1 Full Time Equivalent Child Advocate who will work exclusively with child victims of child abuse, neglect, and child sexual abuse and their non-offending family members; travel to OVC-required training; purchase a data management system; train personnel; and provide services to at least 180 victims of child abuse and neglect, or approximately five children per month.
  • The Crow Tribe will receive a $129,552 COPS Grant which will be used to develop a comprehensive Tribal justice system-wide strategic plan to build internal capacity and capability for an effective and sustainable community-driven public safety program. 
  • The Fort Peck Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes will receive a $10,186 Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program Grant, which will support a broad range of activities to prevent and control crime based on their own state and local needs and conditions. Grant funds can be used for state and local initiatives, technical assistance, training, personnel, equipment, supplies, contractual support, and information systems for criminal justice or civil proceedings.

As the former Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Tester has consistently fought to provide Tribal governments and organizations with the resources they need to reduce crime and tackle the MMIP epidemic. He led the Senate passage of Savanna’s Act and the Not Invisible Act, both of which were signed into law in October of 2020, improving information sharing and collaboration between Tribal and federal law enforcement agencies, and he has secured millions to enhance law enforcement, improve public safety, and support victims in Indian Country.

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Tester is a tireless advocate for increasing funding for police and making sure Tribal law enforcement officers have the resources they need to keep communities safe. He recently secured more than $1 billion in critical funding for local, state, and federal law enforcement and public safety programs in the 2022 bipartisan “omnibus” funding package. Tester was the only member of the Montana delegation to support the bill, which included $647.7 million for Byrne JAG Funding a $190 million increase – in the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) omnibus appropriations package. This included $382 million, a 6 percent increase, to support state, local, and Tribal, criminal justice systems.

Additionally, Tester is pushing for increased funding for Montana law enforcement in his bipartisan Assisting Narcotics and Trafficking Officers in Interdicting (ANTI) Drugs Act to combat drug trafficking.