HO-CHUNK NATION, Wis. (WEAU) -- HO-CHUNK NATION, Wis. (WEAU) -- The Ho-Chunk Nation is now in the midst of building its own law enforcement center. And Nation’s officials say the move is a milestone for the Ho-Chunk Police Department and the Nation as a whole.
“Our offices are pretty much a desk and a computer here,” said Ho-Chunk Police Officer Zachery Quackenbush.
He has been a patrol officer with the Nation for nearly two years.
Right now they only have two employees, Quackenbush and the Police Chief. And their office is in the Nation's Court House.
“Jackson County is who we're relying on if we make arrest; we take them there to the jail. They have evidence storage that is secure,” explained Quackenbush.
Collin Price with the office of Nation's President says even though Ho-Chunk PD has a good working relationship with six counties where some Ho-Chunk Tribal Members live, becoming more self-sufficient has been a plan for many years.
“The ultimate goal would be for this agency to do everything from dispatch to investigations, to jailing our own people. It takes a whole lot of work, it's going to take a whole lot of time; but we're working toward that,” said Price.
Price says the department is already in the process of hiring 3 more officers.
“The ability to police is unique to us because we have such a huge land base and it's not just centrally located,” said Price.
Ho-Chunk tribal members live in14 counties, in many small communities- all of which the Ho-Chunk Police Department would like to patrol someday.
“We want to keep our people safe, we want to keep our community safe for everybody to enjoy,” said Price.
“Anything we can get in this department that will help us, including a building, is going to make me do my job better and just make me an all-around a better police officer,” added Quackenbush.
The new Law Enforcement Center will be an addition to the Ho-Chuck Nation Court Building of highway 54, just outside Black River Falls.
The project should be completed by early spring.