Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe Enters Into Deputization Agreement With Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office

Sheriff Billy Honsal shakes hands with Chief Floyd Stokes.

Sheriff Billy Honsal shakes hands with Chief Floyd Stokes. [Photo from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office]

This is a press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff William F. Honsal is pleased to announce that the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office has entered into a deputization agreement with the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe.

This agreement further strengthens the ties between the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe and the County of Humboldt, allowing for better coverage and efficiency in public safety services within the Rancheria and surrounding areas.

“This agreement has been years in the making and I’m very happy with the outcome,” Sheriff Honsal said. “The deputization of Blue Lake Tribal Police officers is a crucial step forward to providing Humboldt County residents on and off the Rancheria with the public safety services they deserve. The tribal officers, being aware of the unique cultural issues of the Rancheria, will help us better serve the community and increase public safety as a whole.”

Prior to the agreement, the Blue Lake Tribal Police Department was federally commissioned, meaning officers could enforce federal law but not California law. According to Tribal Police Chief Floyd Stokes, this stipulation seriously limited the public safety services the department was able to provide and the justice the community received.

“A lot of crimes that occur on tribal properties are better handled through California courts than federal courts,” Chief Stokes said. “We can’t do our business well enough unless we have access to California courts and we don’t have access unless we are California peace officers.”

The Blue Lake Rancheria joins the Yurok and Hoopa Tribes, who also have deputization agreements with the Sheriff. Federally recognized tribal peace officers, who have graduated a state police academy and have completed the 720-hour field-training program with the Sheriff’s Office, will have the power to enforce California law on and off tribal lands under the deputization agreement. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office will supervise tribal officers during the course of investigating state crimes. Deputized tribal officers will be distinctively recognized by wearing a deputy sheriff badge and one Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office shoulder patch.

“Deputization with the Sheriff’s Office is absolutely vital for us to run a full service police department,” Chief Stokes said. “The whole objective is for us to be able to assist the Sheriff’s Office if they have a need and for us to handle a criminal activity on the Rancheria as it occurs.”

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office looks forward to this partnership with the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe and thanks the Tribal Police Department for their dedication to meet deputization standards.

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5 comments

  • Well it’s in keeping with the tribal gaming compact. Out of control or escalating crime around casinos is grounds for an investigation from The California Gaming Commission http://www.cgcc.ca.gov/?pageID=contact&pageName=About%20Us

    People were opposed to casinos in California, remember? And when these outfits petitioned to be allowed in CA borders there was a huge outcry about how they would attract crime. And, they have. But at least some of them are taking steps to reassure the community around them that they’re committed to not being a menace.

    About a week after the robbery at Murphys Market in Trinidad, a regular-interval (re-occurance) of car robberies started back up along the beach parking lots and so on, on Scenic Drive in the same town, right near and all along by the casino and other outlying areas. Guess the money on the Murphys robbery ran out and it’s back to business as usual. $100/day drug habits demand a community sacrifice I guess.

    It’s like you can follow the trail of safety glass from the Strawberry Rock trailhead parking, down Anderson to the College Cove safety glass piles; south down Scenic all the way to Moonstone. There’s safety glass at nearly every parking divet. The Sheriffs know who it is. For some reason though they’re keeping a hands-off policy. Casino competition politics? Don’t know. But it’s a real problem and its costing Trinidad, the town and the casino their reputation.

    • No Friend of Dumbasses

      Sam Owens, your trail of false “crime” reporting is absurd and often unconnected to reality. For your information Californians voted 3 times to allow native tribes to have casinos to mitigate the extreme poverty our forbearers brought to them. Casinos have NOT attracted crime. Beaches around Trinidad have always been a problem because they are near the highway where all kinds of people travel, and then pull off to enjoy the beaches. [edit] people should be warned not to believe most of what you have to say.

  • Tourists see that safety glass trail all around the parking lots in Trinidad and they’re like ‘yeah, no’. And the return visits are going to be in shorter and shorter supply. They’re going to have to get real on the thug(s) there and hire some local cops or hire a full time safety glass sweeper to project the image that “there’s nothing wrong here, nothing to see!”

  • Not sure the connection between casinos and “$100 a day drug habits” is the insinuation that drug dealing is happening at the casinos? Lots of people all over the county with drug habits.

  • Yeah but the casino is their Mecca. Not really getting the point, besides being able to act off the reservation what do they get by being able to enforce California law, more lenient drug law and stricter gun control? More catch and release?

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