City and Washoe Tribe sign mutual aid agreement

An agreement between the Washoe Tribe and the Carson City Sheriff's Department to provide general backup and assist one another in drug investigations was approved by city supervisors this week.

Sheriff Ken Furlong said the historic agreement allows Washoe Tribal officers to respond onto city land as backup for Carson City deputies and vice versa.

"This is a huge breakthrough for us. There have been occasions over the years where the agencies have relied upon each other's assistance yet political barriers have prevented us from taking actions on either side," he said. "We haven't been on tribal land in years."

He said that about three months ago, when Carson City deputies had a situation where they need to call on mutual aid from Lyon and Douglas counties, it was Washoe Tribal officers who arrived on the scene first.

The agreement supersedes one that went into effect in 2006 that allowed for cooperation between Carson City and Tribal police during the investigation of crimes related to the sales, manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine.

Under the new agreement, all controlled substances are covered as well as the OK to provide backup.

"If a person fled us for a crime and made it across the curb at Curry Street, we could no longer pursue. Now we can," said Furlong.

Washoe Tribal Police have jurisdiction over the Carson Colony on Stewart Street and the Stewart Reservation in South Carson. They also police two locations in Douglas County.

Each organization will be responsible for their officers while on the other's jurisdiction. The highest ranking officers on duty or on the scene with jurisdiction over the lands where the incident occurs is in charge of the incident, including on-scene direction of all personnel and equipment provided by the responding party. However, an officers organization maintain authority over the individuals and can order their people back to their jurisdictions.

Neither Washoe Tribal Chairman Waldo Walker or Washoe Tribal Police Chief Richard Varner could be reached for comment.

"The tribe is sovereign land. That equates to a separate nation. Yet they are right here in the heart of our town. Why shouldn't law enforcement cooperate?" Furlong said.

• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1213.

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