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Tribal Law Enforcement in the United States, 2018

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2023
31 pages

This report provides details on the law enforcement agencies authorized to issue citations or arrest persons for violating regulations or laws in Indian country (American Indian reservations and other tribal lands) and Alaska Native villages. It also presents the number, size, funding sources, jurisdiction, and functions of those agencies. Findings are from the 2008 Census of State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies and the 2019 Census of Tribal Law Enforcement Agencies.


  • A total of 234 tribally operated law enforcement agencies, 23 Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) agencies, and the Alaska State Troopers Village Public Safety Officer (VPSO) Program operated across the United States in 2018.
  • The number of tribally operated law enforcement agencies increased 31% from 2008 to 2018, from 178 to 234 agencies.
  • In 2018, nearly 90% of tribally operated law enforcement agencies employing 50 or more full-time-equivalent sworn officers received funding from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation.
  • Of the 3,834 full-time sworn officers in tribally operated law enforcement agencies in 2018, about 49% were American Indian or Alaska Native, 38% were white, and 14% were another race or ethnicity.

Date Published: July 1, 2023