Posted: Sep 20, 2013 By: Teri Walker
Holbrook, AZ — Navajo County and the White Mountain Apache Tribe have entered into two new cooperative agreements that will help both organizations strengthen their
law enforcement efforts, while creating a new revenue stream for the county.
The first agreement is a cross commission agreement granting Navajo County Sheriff's deputies lawful jurisdiction on the White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation, allowing them to respond to requests for law enforcement
assistance from the Tribe, and granting the same to White Mountain Apache officers who may be called upon to assist the Navajo County Sheriff's Office.
The agreement was put into action for the first time during the recent 87th Annual White Mountain Apache Tribal Fair and Rodeo in Whiteriver, where Navajo County Sheriff's personnel assisted with law enforcement at the
event and within the community. Tribal law enforcement personnel reciprocated last weekend during the Navajo County Fair in Holbrook.
“It's important for Navajo County to build these partnerships with tribal communities,” said Supervisor Dawnafe Whitesinger. “This agreement will allow the White Mountain Apache tribal government to meet its obligation
to ensure the safety of the community, especially in high traffic times, like the fair.”
Under the second agreement, the White Mountain Apache Department of Corrections may house up to 25 sentenced inmates in Navajo County Jail, at a rate of $55 per prisoner, per day. Longstanding overcrowding in Department
of Corrections' facilities led to a previous contract with McKinley County in New Mexico to house overflow prisoners. The new agreement with Navajo County houses prisoners significantly closer to their communities, reducing
the distance for families visiting their loved ones. It also creates a new source of revenue for the Sheriff's Department, which along with the rest of Navajo County, has seen a flat or declining budget for the past five years.
The Navajo County Jail has a maximum capacity of 430 prisoners. The White Mountain Apache inmates would bring current occupancy to 320, a number which can be managed without increasing current staffing levels.
“With this agreement, we are able to keep families together and provide jobs in our county,” said Navajo County Sheriff KC Clark.
Both agreements were initiated by the Navajo County Sheriff's and Navajo County Attorney's Offices, with participation by Supervisor Whitesinger, Sheriff KC Clark, and County Attorney Brad Carlyon, in partnership
with representatives from the White Mountain Apache Tribe, including Public Safety Director Andrew Kane, Police Chief Travis Tassay and tribal attorney Jim Palmer.
“I'm grateful to Sheriff Clark and County Attorney Brad Carlyon for their efforts to build these partnerships,” said Whitesinger. “They had the vision and foresight to understand why these relationships are important.”
“These agreements hit on two key tenets in Navajo County: the importance of partnerships and innovation,” commented Navajo County Manager James Jayne. “I'm pleased we'll be working cooperatively with the White Mountain
Apache Tribe, calling on each other when needed to keep our communities safer; and, I'm impressed by the innovative thinking demonstrated by the departments involved resulting in us helping out a neighboring government
while generating additional funds for the county.”