By Julie Wiessner
One of Navajo County Sheriff K.C. Clark’s initiatives four years ago was to work toward a program that would cross-commission his deputies with the Navajo Nation Police Department, and he has finally hammered out a program that does just that. Currently, there is one deputy located in Piñon.
With the approval of the Navajo County Board of Supervisors on Jan. 22, the matter will now go before the Navajo Nation Council to determine if deputies will be able to work on the Navajo Nation in their regular ca-pacity as they would in the rest of the county.
Currently, if a Native American commits a crime on the reservation and a county deputy is present, that deputy can do nothing about the crime committed by that individual. Under the proposed agreement, deputies would be able to arrest Native Americans as well as non-Natives if they commit a crime on the reservation.
Board Chairman Jonathan Nez, who was participating telephonically, expressed his gratitude that this pro-gram has finally come together.
“I appreciate the work County Attorney Brad Carlyon and Sheriff K.C. Clark put into this idea to move it forward to a working plan. This template is a good one that all tribes can utilize, from the Navajo Nation to the White Mountain Apache and Hopi tribes,” said Nez.
Supervisor David Tenney congratulated Clark and acknowledged he knew the sheriff had been working on this plan a long time.
Clark thanked both Nez and Tenney, but noted, “This plan still has to be voted on by the tribe before its final approval.”
Navajo Nation Council member Elmer Begay was present, and thanked Carlyon and Clark, saying, “The Navajo Nation has also been wanting to do this for a long time.”
The agreement was unanimously approved by the board and will go into effect if the Navajo Nation Council gives its final approval.
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By Julie Wiessner