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The Case of Cross-Deputization

 Joseph William Singer, Jeremy McClane, and Nicholas Price  
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45 pages
Product Type:
Workshop-Based Case Study
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In this simulation set on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington state, the conflict between legal authority of the Spokane Tribe and of neighboring Lincoln County has made law enforcement difficult on the reservation’s borders, particularly when it comes to stopping drunk drivers. The tribe has no criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians, but does have the authority to stop drunk drivers within the borders of the reservation and, if it is determined that they are non-Indians, turn them over to county or state authorities. However, the tribe does not have the authority under existing law to follow drunk drivers off the reservation into Lincoln County.

In our negotiation exercise, the tribe would like the authority to engage in “hot pursuit” of speeding or drunk drivers off the reservation on Route 25 over the bridge to Lincoln County. For that to happen, the tribe needs to reach a cross-deputization agreement with Lincoln County allowing tribal police officers to pursue drunk drivers off the reservation. A Washington state statute mandates an arbitrated cross-deputization if the parties fail to reach an agreement; however, the tribe has sovereign immunity, and cannot be forced into an arbitrated agreement without its consent.

Participants in the negotiation exercise adopt the positions of either Lincoln County Sheriff’s Counsel or Tribal Counsel to negotiate a cross-deputization agreement with respect to hot pursuit off of the reservation, ancillary areas of shared law enforcement, and the related costs and waivers that such a partnership entails.

Part 1 introduces the problem and law at hand. Participants then read either Part 2a or 2b, confidential instructions that prepare their side for the negotiation. Teams negotiate an agreement and draft its terms. The workshop concludes with presentations of these agreements and a debrief of the negotiation process.

Table of Contents

This problem set contains separate pdf files for each of the following parts:

  • Part 1-The Problem & the Law presents the problem as well as the relevant court decisions and applicable statutes.
  • Part 2a-Confidential Instructions, Tribal Counsel outlines stakeholder interests, concerns, and limitations to prepare participants for their negotiation.
  • Part 2b-Confidential Instructions, Sheriff’s Counsel outlines stakeholder interests, concerns, and limitations to prepare participants for their negotiation.

Learning Objectives

  • Begin to develop a systematic approach to problem solving when faced with an unresolved issue or new situation.
  • To introduce students to some of the analytic concepts in negotiation, including the importance of understanding interests vs. positions, the role of BATNAs (best alternatives to a negotiated agreement), and the usefulness of brainstorming creative options.
  • To give students some experience thinking through process and relationship issues in a negotiation.
  • To provide students a better understanding of how law can influence a negotiation, by serving both as a backdrop against which interests, entitlements, and alternatives are understood and as a tool for problem solving.

Subjects Covered

Law enforcement, cross-deputization, hot pursuit, search warrants, tribal sovereignty, negotiation, allocation of costs, Native American law


Geographic: Spokane Reservation, Washington, United States

Industry: Law Enforcement

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Educator Materials

Watermarked educator copies and a teacher's manual for this product are available free of charge to educators and staff at non-profit institutions. The teacher's manual is available free of charge to for-profit trainers. Please create an account or sign in as a registered educator to gain access to these materials.

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Additional Information

Crossing the Line: The Dos and Don’ts of a Cross-Deputization Agreement

The Problem Solving Workshop: A Video Introduction



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