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Three Affiliated Tribes chairman thinks recent disappearance case points out BIA officer shortage

Dave Thompson
Prairie Public

The chairman of the Three Affiliated Tribes says the recent search for a missing woman has revealed staffing issues with federal law enforcement – specifically BIA police.

Mark Fox told the Legislature’s Tribal Taxation Committee he was very happy with the help the tribe received from the state and counties in the search for Olivia Lone Bear. Her body was found in a submerged truck in Lake Sakakawea – but the investigation continues into how she died.

"Everybody that we reached out to said, 'How can we help?" Fox said. "From the perspective of cooperation with other government, the state did a good job, the counties did a good job, coming up and working the searches, and things of that nature."

But Fox told the committee, the response of the federal government was, as he put it, "not so good."

"Our law enforcement was paying a lot of attention to trying to resolve the Lone Bear case, and finding a missing person," Fox said. "You forget that we have a lot of day-by-day, minute-by-minute things that are ongoing, and our law enforcement was being pulled aside. Instead of out patrolling, they're out searching. And we're already limited in our resources, so it became difficult."

Fox said he has raised this issue with the federal Interior Department, and with other federal officials.