LAKE ANDES, S.D. — The Yankton Sioux police chief says his department has made progress against drugs, but he needs more help from tribal members.

Chris Saunsoci said at an annual drug summit Wednesday that people may find it difficult to report friends and family for drug use, but that they should view it as getting their loved ones the help they need, the Yankton Daily Press and Dakotan reported ( ).

“We’re seeking community outreach,” he said. “We want people to come to us when they run into issues with meth or other drugs.”

He added that coming forward about drug use in the community can also help protect children or others close to drug users.

Saunsoci is also asking tribal members to change laws that no longer help or may even hinder drug enforcement.

Yankton Sioux tribal chairman Robert Flying Hawk commended the police for reaching out to the community.

“Within the community, Chris is reaching out. But people hold a lot of negativity in their view of the police,” he said. “We need to realize (police officers) help and protect us, and they need our support.”

Over the years, Yankton Sioux law enforcement has increased their number of officers so they’re better equipped to deal with drug problems.

In addition to Saunsoci, the force now has a lieutenant, criminal investigator and law enforcement assistant as well as seven patrol officers and six dispatchers.

Information from: Yankton Press and Dakotan,

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