On Monday, Oct. 4, 2021 a mutual aid agreement was signed between the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation (MHA Nation) and the North Dakota Highway Patrol. This agreement will enhance law enforcement in the areas of emergency calls, requests for mutual aid and other law enforcement functions on the Fort Berthold Reservation, learn more.
The North Dakota Highway Patrol (NDHP) created the Cultural Liaison Program (CLP) in 2017 to enhance culturally diverse relationships through familiar, consistent staff and resources. The CLP has a dedicated staff with a goal to build relationships and create a single contact point for questions, comments, or concerns.
The Cultural Liaison Officer (CLO) is a sworn peace officer who serves the diverse population of North Dakota. The goals of the CLO program are to build relationships, secure trust, and develop empathy to allow for effective, meaningful dialogue among diverse communities in order to build lasting relationships; foster trust; address community concerns; and provide direct support to patrol operations.
The CLO is located at NDHP headquarters in Bismarck. The CLO works onsite and within diverse communities and provides assistance to other government agencies including the ND Indian Affairs Commission. The Native American community includes members of the five tribal nations that share geography with North Dakota: Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, Spirit Lake Tribe, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Three Affiliated Tribes (MHA Nation), and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. Each tribal nation is unique with its own beliefs, traditions, protocols, history, and languages.
The CLO also works with the growing number of New Americans coming to North Dakota that include refugees, immigrants, and asylees. The CLO provides a forum for answering questions and offering safety talks in topics such as winter driving, traffic laws, and interaction with law enforcement.
The NDHP Cultural Liaison Program recognizes the LGBTQ+ community in North Dakota and is working to build relationships through community outreach and proactive training for law enforcement.
The work of the CLO is primarily “call-generated”, focusing on immediate needs and concerns. These calls range from missing persons cases, jurisdictional complexities, requests for cross-agency collaboration, cultural awareness training, and youth engagement. The CLO provides information and relational assessment to NDHP leadership as needed and is integral in working with tribal leadership to enhance law enforcement services across the state.
One of the primary duties of the CLO is to provide cultural awareness and diversity training to new police officers at the North Dakota Law Enforcement Training Academy. This training and other resources are available, by request, to other agencies and departments across the state. In addition, the CLO participates in recruiting diverse candidates to ensure NDHP properly represents the citizens of North Dakota.