Sheridan County Board Chair: Whiteclay lacks adequate law enforcement

Street scene in Whiteclay (Photo by Fred Knapp, NET News)
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October 11, 2016 - 5:55pm

The chairman of the board in Sheridan County, where the troubled town of Whiteclay is located, said Tuesday the county doesn’t have enough resources to enforce the law there.


The statement came during a hearing on alcohol problems in Whiteclay, where four stores sell the equivalent of 3.5 million cans of beer a year, mostly to residents of the nearby and officially dry Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Sheridan County Commissioner Jack Andersen was responding to a question from Sen. Matt Hansen of Lincoln. "Do you feel like you have the adequate resources to provide law enforcement to Whiteclay?" Hansen asked.

"No, we absolutely do not," Andersen replied.

Dozens of people can frequently be seen hanging out and drinking on the streets of Whiteclay, and the town has also been linked to at least four unsolved deaths of native Americans in the last two decades.

Andersen’s statement is potentially significant because Nebraska law requires the Liquor Control Commission to consider the adequacy of law enforcement when issuing liquor licenses. Activists have long called for the commission to deny the beer stores licenses. Andersen said he would like to see a state law enforcement officer stationed in Whiteclay.

 

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