A Sheridan County leader is hopeful the Unicameral’s renewed focus on Whiteclay will improve the border town.
County Commissioner James Krotz serves on the governor’s task force examining liquor sales to Native Americans from South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation, which prohibits alcohol.
The Unicameral’s General Affairs Committee also is discussing the situation there at a hearing today.
Krotz says he wants to see some type of funding for public safety.
“It really takes a big bite out of our law enforcement budget to patrol Whiteclay, to deal with calls up there,” Krotz tells Nebraska Radio Network. “Our jail budget too is disproportionately impacted by Whiteclay.”
The committee’s charged with three things:
Examining the need for legislation to fund increased law enforcement in the area
Reviewing LB713 (1961), which provided for the funding and appointment of deputy state sheriffs for certain counties, and consideration of whether similar legislation should be adopted now
Examining whether law enforcement efforts to enforce the Nebraska Liquor Control Act and other state and federal statutes are effective.
“It’s a disproportionate number of arrests and calls,” Krotz says. “I mean, even if they don’t make an arrest, deputies are called up there regularly.”
A jail study done several years ago showed roughly 40 percent of the inmates at any given time were from outside Sheridan County.
He says most of the revenue generated in tiny Whiteclay comes from property taxes, not the sale of alcohol.
Krotz is hopeful someone will find a solution to the problem alcohol is having on the community.
“The Lakota people have had amazing leaders arise from their numbers in the past and there’s no reason to think that that won’t happen again.”