There are 566 federally recognized American Indian Tribes in the United States, and the FBI has federal law enforcement responsibility on nearly 200 Indian reservations. This federal jurisdiction is shared concurrently with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Justice Services (BIA-OJS).
Located within the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, the Indian Country Crimes Unit (ICCU) is responsible for developing and implementing strategies, programs, and policies to address identified crime problems in Indian Country (IC) for which the FBI has responsibility.
The ICCU’s daily operations consist of providing:
- Program management;
- Support for operational and forensic expenses;
- Training of IC law enforcement officers;
- Initiatives related to domestic violence and sex offenses;
- Reporting under the Tribal Law and Order Act;and
- Support for the Safe Trails Task Forces.
ICCU partners with internal and external entities/federal agencies, including, but not limited to, the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division, the FBI’s Office of Victim Assistance, the Department of Justice, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the National Indian Gaming Commission.
Approximately 75 percent of the crimes the FBI investigates in Indian Country fall under the following priority violations:
- Death investigations;
- Physical abuse of a child;
- Sexual abuse of a child;
- Violent felony assaults; and
Four field divisions (Albuquerque, Minneapolis, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City) account for 75 percent of all Indian Country cases opened each year.
The FBI’s Office for Victim Assistance has victim specialists dedicated to Indian Country, representing approximately one-third of the entire FBI victim specialist workforce. These victim specialists are heavily involved in FBI IC cases, assisting victims throughout the entire case process.
ICCU works with the Department of Justice to provide training for federal, state, county, and tribal law enforcement officers.
The FBI typically supports the following courses for Indian Country law enforcement personnel:
- Introduction to Indian Country (two-week course);
- Interviewing and interrogation;
- Death investigations;
- Drug and gang investigations;
- Law Enforcement Training for Safety and Survival (LETSS);
- Forensic interviewing of children;
- Evidence collection; and
- Child abuse investigations.