Two tribal 911 centers receive funding from state board despite not paying into S.D. fund

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and Oglala Sioux Tribe are receiving some state funding for their 911 emergency-call centers, even though they don’t participate in the South Dakota 911 system and don’t contribute payments into state government’s 911 fund.

The state Department of Public Safety announced the grants Wednesday after the state 911 Coordination Board approved $46,449.80 for the Cheyenne River Tribe Department of Public Safety to upgrade equipment. The board had okayed $86,240 for the Oglala Sioux Tribe in March.

The board discussed Wednesday whether it was appropriate to fund tribal 911 centers that don’t take part in the state system that is funded from surcharges on telephones. Ted Rufledt Jr. of Rapid City explained the issue to other newer board members.

State 911 manager Maria King said officials from the Cheyenne River and Crow Creek Sioux Tribe had contacted her about potentially joining NextGen911 but weren’t sure about funding. She said participation in the state 911 system is voluntary but participants must pay into the fund.

Amy Leon of Yankton, who recently was appointed to the board, questioned setting a precedent. Another member, Perkins County Sheriff Kelly Serr, noted it was one-time money: “I echo everyone’s concern.” Rufledt said it was a goodwill sign toward a tribal government.

No one voted against it on a voice vote.

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