On Sunday, September 9, 2018, law enforcement and medical personnel responded to a call for service on Ojibwe Drive in District I of the Mille Lacs Reservation. An adult male with injuries was located. The male was later pronounced deceased. The investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with information on this incident, please call the Mille Lacs Tribal Police Department at 320-532-3430 or the Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Office at 320-983-8257.
The Band released a statement on Public Safety in Our Band Communities (see below), and the Tribal Police Department released this statement: “Miigwech to all the community members for your care and concern. The tragedy that occurred on Ojibwe Drive on September 9 is under active investigation, which prevents us from commenting on many of the details. Please know that we share your concerns and sadness, and that we are working 24/7 and exploring every lead.”
Chief Executive Benjamin and Speaker Sheldon Boyd released the following joint message to Band members on Monday, September 10:
The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe is a community of strong, resilient, truly good people who deserve to feel safe. At the same time, our community has recently experienced a wave of violence that has resulted in tragedy after tragedy.
The recent events on Ojibwe Drive in District I are under active investigation, which prevents the police and Band officials from commenting on the details of that tragedy. However, on behalf of the Band government, we want Band members to know that we share your concerns, and we are working closely with Band attorneys to determine whether there are any law or policy changes that could be immediately instituted – even temporarily -- that would improve public safety.
On behalf of the entire leadership and administration of the Mille Lacs Band government, our hearts go out to every Band family that has experienced violence and are in pain. Together, we commit to doing whatever is within our legal authority to address violent crime on the Reservation.
Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin &
Speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Boyd
Public Safety in Our Band Community
Recently, there has been an increase in tragedies due to violent crime in our community and widespread concern among Band Members. Many have expressed feelings of fear and insecurity to the Band government. Mille Lacs Tribal Police and Band officials are working diligently to address safety concerns of the community. The Band is calling on all residents to help ensure safety for our families, neighbors, and the entire Mille Lacs Band. Miigwech for your help.
What to expect
• Heightened police presence: Effective immediately, tribal police officers have increased patrols in District I and will be working more overtime hours. Band Members may also see more county, federal and state patrol cars on the reservation, day and night. Traffic stops will become more frequent due to the heightened police presence.
• Action from tribal government: Band attorneys are working to determine whether there are any law or policy changes that could be immediately instituted that would improve public safety.
• Trespassing Enforcement: There will be increased pressure applied on individuals without direct connection to our communities and who are suspected to be involved in illicit activity to leave the reservation. Any Band Member who does not feel safe in their home should call the police for assistance removing unauthorized persons from their home.
How you can help
• If you see something, say something: Please call law enforcement if you have any information on the recent incident that took place on Ojibwe Drive or to report suspicious activity:
o Mille Lacs Tribal Police Department: 320-532-3430
o Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Office: 320-983-8257
• Call Mille Lacs Band Housing to report non-emergency housing concerns:
o 800-709-6445, ext. 7799 (call during regular business hours)
• Know your neighbors: Neighbors who know one another watch out for one another.
• Be smart about safety:
o Keep your doors locked – both home and car doors.
o Supervise your children and keep them close to home when not at school.
If you need to talk to someone
• Tragedy can cause emotional stress. Confidential resources are available to help.
• Mille Lacs Band Behavioral Health: 320-532-4754 (available to any Band Member)
• Mille Lacs Band Government Employee Assistance Line: 800-383-1908 (government employees)
• Mille Lacs Corporate Venture/Casino/Business employees: OPTUM at 800-626-7944 (any employee of MLCV, the casinos, or Band-owned businesses
• 24-Hour Crisis Line: 866-867-4006 (any community member)