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David Bernhardt visited with U.S. Bureau Indian Affairs Indian Police Academy Tuesday

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U.S. Department of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt stands in front of the Indian Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia on Oct. 6, 2020. (Photo: Mike Smith Current-Argus)

U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) Secretary David Bernhardt addressed officials and personnel at the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Indian Police Academy Tuesday in Artesia at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC).

Bernhardt said Artesia serves as an important learning academy for Native American law enforcement officers.

“My first impression is that we have extremely qualified staff and we have extremely dedicated employees who are trying to train folks to go back into the communities and provide the law enforcement that the people need,” he said.

Bernhardt said the Academy is prepared to welcome and train a new class of cadets to serve as law enforcement officers for the various Native American tribes and pueblos across the United States.

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“It’s the equivalent of a police academy,” he said.

Cadets are trained in all of police work, according to Bernhardt.

“There’s training related to basic police protocols, there’s training regarding corrections. There’s all sorts of training programs that might be needed in Indian Country,” he said.

Established as the U.S. Indian Police Training and Research Center, the Academy opened in Roswell on the site of the former Walker Air Force base on December 17, 1968. The Academy began training law enforcement officers from throughout the United States who serve tribal communities, the FLETC website indicated.

In 1973, the Academy was relocated to the Inter-mountain Inter-tribal School campus in Brigham City, Utah,