Pokagon Band donates tribal police car to area vocational school

The Pokagon Band and its tribal police department recently presented a squad car to the law enforcement program at the Van Buren County Intermediate School District’s Technology Center.

“The Pokagon Band is committed to being good neighbors by improving public safety,” said Chairman John P. Warren. “Our tribal police are cross deputized with Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department, and we are proud to help train the next generation of law enforcement officers.”

Van Buren County School’s Law Enforcement Program consists of approximately 50 students from schools in Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties. The program is for students interested in a career in the criminal justice field.

The contribution of a patrol car by the Pokagon Tribal Police provides these students with a valuable tool, said Matt Whitman, program instructor and retired Michigan State trooper.

“Part of getting the students career ready is by providing them with hands-on activities that represent real-life situations,” Whitman said. “We at the technology center thank the Pokagon Tribal Police for such a wonderful donation.”

“The students will gain knowledge on how to safely conduct traffic stops and the proper positioning of the patrol car in various situations,” said Pokagon Tribal Police Chief William Lux. “Students will benefit from hours of real life experience by having the patrol car.”

The Van Buren County Intermediate School District’s Technology Center serves 1,000 high school junior and senior students each year. The center offers 24 career and technical education programs using high-tech equipment and training, in combination with project and work-based learning, to assist students as they explore career options, prepare for college and develop skills for the workplace.

The Pokagon Tribal Police Department consists of 50 law enforcement officers who are cross-deputized in Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties, and in St. Joseph County, Indiana. Officers are federally, state and tribally trained, and operate out of stations in Dowagiac, New Buffalo, Hartford and South Bend.

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians’ sovereignty was reaffirmed under legislation signed into law by President Clinton in September 1994.

The Pokagon Band is dedicated to providing community development initiatives such as housing, education, family services, medical care and cultural preservation for its approximately 5,000 citizens, representatives said. The Pokagon Band’s 10-county service area includes four counties in southwestern Michigan and six in northern Indiana.

Its main administrative offices are located in Dowagiac, with a satellite office in South Bend. In 2007, it opened Four Winds Casino Resort in New Buffalo, followed by Four Winds Hartford in 2011 and Four Winds Dowagiac in 2013. Four Winds South Bend will open in early 2018.

It owns and operates a variety of business via Mno-Bmadsen, the tribe’s nongaming investment enterprise.

More information is available at pokagonband-nsn.gov, fourwindscasino.com and mno-bmadsen.com.

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