FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 6, 2023
CONTACT: Stewart Huntington, 605-773-6878
PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Mark Vargo announced today that he has formed a Jurisdictional Cooperation Commission to explore ways that law enforcement agencies can work better together. South Dakota is home to a complicated tapestry of overlapping jurisdictions that can create headaches for law enforcement officials.
“Sometimes when a criminal crosses a boundary, the information law enforcement needs doesn’t cross as well,” said Vargo, who will co-chair the commission when he returns to his elected position of Pennington County State’s Attorney. “Working better together we can make a difference and make our state safer.”
The commission hopes to identify straightforward ideas to foster trust between agencies that can be implemented without requiring new legislation. The commission will make recommendations to the Attorney General as well as to tribal authorities and starts from a firm position that no ideas that infringe on tribal sovereignty will be considered.
“This work is long overdue,” said Joe Brings Plenty, a commission member who sits on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Council and formerly served as CRST Police Chief. “There are many places in the state where our law enforcement agencies work well together but, sadly, there are places where the levels of trust and cooperation are not robust. Hopefully with this commission we can start a new era in South Dakota.”
The commission plans to convene in February and establish a timeline for presenting recommendations to the Attorney General and tribal authorities.
Members of the Attorney General’s Jurisdictional Cooperation Commission:
Pennington County State’s Attorney
Executive Director, Thunder Valley Development Corp.
Former OST Attorney General
Tripp County State’s Attorney
Jackson County Sheriff
Assistant City Attorney, City of Sioux Falls
Joe Brings Plenty
Councilmember and former Chief of Police, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe
Chief of Police, Rapid City
Roberts County State’s Attorney
MMIP Coordinator. Attorney General’s Office
Attorney General, Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe
Perkins County State’s Attorney
Rep. Tyler Tordsen
South Dakota Attorney General