PAWNEE, Okla – On Friday, December 16th, the Pawnee Nation hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for a new Law Enforcement Center that will be constructed on their agency campus. The new facility will include seven offices, a reception area, and a conference room than can double as a safe area accommodating more than 150 people during inclement weather. The building is not a jail, as the tribe has a cross-deputization agreement with the city of Pawnee.
Richard Tilden, a member of the Pawnee Business Council, is particularly proud of how the new Law Enforcement Center will use the latest technology to aid the tribal police force. “It is going to be the police officers’ base; they are going to have communications out here,” Tilden said. “They are going to have offices and an interrogation and training room, where they will be based when they come off of duty. When they come through the gates all of their information will be downloaded from their cars to a computer base. It’s pretty sophisticated, we put a lot of thought, ideas and time into this; we want to make it something good. It’s not a jail; it’s a communication center for all of our tribe. This is what the people want, and this will hopefully help the tribe to get more enforcement of authority.”
“This is something we have been anticipating for a long time,” Chief of the Pawnee Nation Police, David Kanuho, said. “We’ve never really had a new facility, we’ve always worked out of other buildings, like the one we are at now; we share it with the fire department, and it’s really more of a fire department. We had a building before, but it was an old beat up building; this is the one we’ve been waiting for.”
Kanuho is excited about each officer having his own office. “I have my own office in the current building, but we have four other officers together in one office. We are also looking forward to having an evidence room, which we never had before; right now we keep things in a locker. And we’ll have a surveillance room with a two-way mirror, which is a little fancy for us. We’ll also have a conference room where we can do training sessions, and it can also double as a safe room.”
“It’s going to be state of the art, and it’s badly needed; we’ve outgrown the other center,” said Pawnee Nation President Marshall Gover. “It can also be used for the country and city, the state can utilize it. Also the feds can use it. It’s a badly needed center for the whole area. There will be room for expansion and it will grow as the tribe grows.”
The new facility is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under the FY 2010 – Indian Community Development Block Grant. The Pawnee Nation’s Transportation Department contributed additional funding for the development of access entrances and parking areas. Construction should commence this winter.