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Navajo and Non-Navajo Law Enforcement to Overlap

Navajo Times, Posted: Dec 01, 2009

Another major effort is underway to cross-deputize Navajo and non-Navajo law enforcement authorities where the tribal land overlaps the state of Arizona, the Navajo Times reports.

County sheriff's deputies will soon be stationed in northern Navajo County, as they are in the Navajo parts of Apache County.

Cross-deputization is a simple concept: Allow county deputies to be sworn in as tribal police and vice versa so they can handle calls in their areas, whether it is reservation land or not.

It's already being done in New Mexico, thanks in large part to a former McKinley County Sheriff Frank Gonzales, who believed strongly in the need for it.

Sheriff's deputies have for years been a common sight on Navajo land in New Mexico, while in Arizona the county sheriffs steered clear of the reservation until recent years, when then Apache County Sheriff Brian Hounshell extended service to Navajo parts of the county.

Navajo land takes up half or more of the landmass and Navajos are the largest population group in Apache and Navajo counties.


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