By Joe Morey
The Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Court recently received grant funding for two new positions in the court, a Tribal Court Improvement Program (TCIP) Coordinator and a Healing to Wellness Court Coordinator.
LCO Tribal Court Director/Magistrate, William Trepanier, explained the two positions.
“The Healing to Wellness court is a court that will take a different approach to dispositions. The people who will be in the program will have a chance to rehabilitate, and graduate, therefore getting all of their charges dropped,” Trepanier said. “We have a large amount of technical assistance coming in from other tribes to help us get this off the ground. Needless to say, this will be a huge undertaking and very challenging.”
Trepanier added, “I am very excited about this opportunity as I have wanted a Healing to Wellness Court since I started here.”
According to Trepanier, the Healing to Wellness Court will serve members who have been sentenced in sawyer county for drug crimes or other crimes related, and they will get a chance to go through the program.
“We want to concentrate on culture so that these people can gain a sense of who they are in their community, and that they are a part of a community,” Trepanier added.
Trepanier said the coordinator for this court has already been hired. Due to the government shutdown, there were some setbacks on getting these positions started, but they will be screening and interviewing soon for the TCIP coordinator.
“The Tribal Court Improvement Program is meant to help our child welfare cases,” Trepanier said. “There will be an assessment done, then we will be fixing problems, creating committees. This program will also be meant to help the families that get their children removed. It really is a large undertaking as well.”
The positions require persons with strong backgrounds in social services, criminal justice, or even administrative work, noted Trepanier.
“There will be a lot of organization needed to keep these grants moving,” said Trepanier.
The LCO Tribal Court currently consists of Chief Judge, James Schlender Jr., Court Director/Magistrate William Trepanier, Clerk of Court Susie Taylor, and Deputy Clerks Chelsea Warder, and Teshena LaRonge.