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Featuring -- Tribal Police at the Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe

Featuring -- Tribal Police at the Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe
by Rachel Dahl --  The Fallon Tribal Police Department is a full-service agency serving the tribal community located in Churchill County. “we take in the entire area of Fox Peak Station,” said Chief Marshall Emerson, “the administrative area, the colony, and the reservation located ten miles east of town in Stillwater.” Emerson said the reservation consists of both residential subdivisions, farms, and the tribal wetlands. According to Emerson, there are essentially three sets of laws that apply to folks on the reservation; the tribal law and order code, major crimes, and if a person is not a member of the tribe then state and federal law applies. “We enforce all laws on the reservation including hunting reservation,” he said. When there is a federal law is violation the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Federal Bureau of Investigation is contacted. Issues that are important to the department this time of the year include impaired driving, and mental health. “Don’t drive impaired and if you are going to a party have a plan for a ride home,” he said. He also said this time of the year many people suffer from depression. “We want to let people know there is always somebody here who they can talk to.” Their officers are specifically trained to help with mental health crisis. “Call. We would rather take the time and be called out and evaluate the situation then not be called and find out something could have been done.” The tribal police are part of the Churchill County dispatch system, with all 911 calls being routed through the Sheriff’s office and then tribal police are called out. Emerson said the relationship between the community law enforcement agencies is “seamless.” “We help each other when we need help, we have a long-standing mutual aid agreement with the Sheriff, and it works out very well.” He said same relationship holds true for Emergency Medical Service and Fire. The tribe does have their own volunteer fire department, but they are wildland certified, so the Fallon/Churchill volunteer department responds when there are structure fires. Emerson has served at the tribe for the past four years, coming from the Washoe County Sheriff’s office where he served for 23 years, and Shoshone, Idaho where he served as the Chief of Police for three years. He said this department is very involved in the community and in doing outreach. They participate in the Halloween and the Thanksgiving programs, the learning center, and now the Christmas program for the tribal community. “We also are involved in the summer youth program,” he said. “We provide demonstrations and tours of our facilities; the kids get to sit in the cars, and we show them around the station.” Elders are held in very high esteem in the tribal culture. Emerson said by example that if it were to snow, his officers get their snow shovels and go check on all the elders. If their driveways or walkways or wheelchair ramps are covered, they shovel snow for them. “At the same time, we’re doing a welfare check to make sure they have sufficient heat or if they’re running short on medication, we make sure they are taken care of.” “We are here to serve the community, that’s why we exist. We practice community-oriented policing,” he said, “and we enjoy tremendous cooperation from all the surrounding agencies.”       Sign up to receive updates and the Friday File email notices. Support local, independent news – contribute to The Fallon Post, your non-profit (501c3) online news source for all things Fallon.

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