SRPMIC Law Enforcement Commission Hosts Informational Meeting
The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community’s Law Enforcement Commission (LEC), a group that serves as a liaison between Community members and the Salt River Police Department and Salt River Department of Corrections, hosted a Community meeting on January 5 at the Evergreen Neighborhood Center.
That meeting and any future meetings in the Community are part of an effort to get the word out on the duties of the LEC, which works with the Community to resolve complaints regarding perceived ill treatment of Community members by officers of the SRPD or the DOC.
The LEC is made up of seven commissioners representing law enforcement, the Salt River and Lehi districts, an at-large seat, seniors and youth. The commission meets monthly and periodically hosts meetings on-site in different areas of the Community.
The meeting at the Evergreen Neighborhood Center lasted about 90 minutes and attracted a handful of Community members. LEC commissioners gave a brief presentation on the commission’s duties and answered questions from the Community. SRPD Det. Ed Alameda, the department’s public information director, was also in attendance.
On average, LEC receives three to four complaints a month, said LEC commissioner Ernestina Deer. Not all submitted complaints are actual complaints, and these are considered concerns or suggestions, she said. These are then shared with a specific department in the tribal government that might fall in the appropriate category.
“We have an open door to anyone to all their concerns,” Deer said.
Each complaint is reviewed by the commission and voted on for approval to submit it to either the SRPD or DOC, who then review it and usually respond to the LEC within 30 days with a decision as to whether the complaint is “sustained” or “unfounded.” The LEC can recommend solutions to police and DOC leaders if the complaint is sustained, but it’s up to the department to take any action to resolve the complaint. Specific disciplinary actions, if taken, are not public information, per HR policy.
Alameda said that the SRPD has about 1,500 contacts with people per month, on average.
“When you do the math [three to four complaints per month out of 1,500 total contacts], that’s actually pretty good,” he said. “That’s a real small percentage. If it was higher, then we would be concerned.”
Anyone who wishes to file a complaint regarding the SRPD or DOC may do so (see sidebar). The LEC can also assist Community members in writing a complaint. All complaints are confidential.
For more information about the LEC, visit www.srpmic-nsn.gov/community/lec.asp.
How to File a Complaint with the Law Enforcement
A complaint to the LEC should, in writing, state the event, the date(s) of occurrence, the names of the parties, the names of any witnesses, any actions taken to try to resolve the issue, and the relief that is sought. Then sign the complaint.
There are three ways to file a complaint; you may use the method of your choice:
1. Complete the citizen complaint form, available from the LEC or online at www.srpmic-nsn.gov/community/lec.asp. Take the completed form to Building 28 in the Tribal Complex or leave it in the dropbox outside the building.
2. Call (480) 265-7896 anytime to request assistance. A member of the LEC will return your call within 24 hours, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
3. Email the LEC at LEC@srpmic-nsn.gov, with your name and how to contact you. Do not include details of your complaint in the email.
Current LEC Commissioners
- Law Enforcement Representative (Chair): Wi-Bwa Williams
- Law Enforcement Representative: Ernestina Deer
- Community at-large Representative (Secretary): Denelle Prieto
- District I (Salt River) Representative: Eric Schurz
- District II (Lehi) Representative: Gabriel Martinez
- Senior Representative: Martha Loring
- Youth Representative: Mikah Carlos