Terry Robbins is the sheriff of Sheridan County, Nebraska. He oversees a vast area, being responsible for one of the largest counties in the country. The county only has a population density of 2.2 people per square mile, making it one of the least densely populated places in America. This presents some unique law enforcement challenges.

 

One of the problems that Robbins and his predecessors have faced is that the county is so large that the few number of personnel allotted to his department are often not enough to adequately handle calls. In the harsh Nebraska winter, an officer may receive a call for an event taking place 80 miles away. He then has to get there as quickly as possible on ice-covered roads.

 

The nature of these thinly placed resources has been a lynchpin in the debate over the town of Whiteclay, Nebraska, which is located at the extreme northern border of the county. The town has long served as the main source of alcohol to the nearby Pine Ridge Lakota Sioux reservation, which has been dry since its founding in the 1870s. But the alcohol sales have led to over a century of lawlessness, including serious brawls, prostitution, gambling and all the other social ills that so often accompany drunkenness.

 

The Sheriff’s Office simply was not able to ensure law and order in the town, due to the extreme dispersion of its few resources. In light of the ongoing lawlessness of the town, The Nevada State Liquor Control Board finally voted unanimously to revoke the licenses of the beer stores there.

 

Categories: Native American, Pine Ridge Lakota Sioux Reservation

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