Mohegan tribal police gain new authority

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News,Business,Native Americans

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The state of Connecticut has struck an agreement with the Mohegan Tribe that expands the authority of its tribal police department.

Tribal police can now exercise law enforcement powers, including at the tribe's Mohegan Sun casino, and the department agrees to recognize and enforce state law under the memorandum of understanding announced Wednesday.

By winning authority to carry out tasks typically reserved for state troopers, the Mohegans reduce the need for state agents at the casino where their salaries have been covered by the tribe. Chief State's Attorney Kevin T. Kane said the agreement also will free up state police to deal more with higher-level issues like organized crime at the casino.

Kane said state officials are close to signing a similar agreement with the Mashantucket Pequots, who own the Foxwoods Resort Casino.

Mohegan Tribal Council Chairman Kevin Brown said the tribe always has considered public safety to be paramount.

"This is a great example of government-to-government relations to achieve this goal," he said.

State officials say troopers will maintain a presence at the casino and will be called in as needed to investigate major crimes.

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