Published on March 8, 2013 by Casey
The Navajo Nation Police (formerly known as the Navajo Tribal Police) is the law enforcement agency on the Navajo Nation in the Southwestern United States. It is under the Navajo Division of Public Safety. It is headed by a Chief of Police, six Police Captains and eight Police Lieutenants. It includes: Internal Affairs, Patrol, K-9 Unit, Dive Team, Tactical Operations Team, Traffic Unit, Fiscal management, Recruitment, and Training Divisions. The Navajo Nation Police are responsible for seven districts, Chinle, Crownpoint, Dilkon, Kayenta, Shiprock, Tuba City, and Window Rock. There are also several substations in each district ranging from one man substations or up to five officers each. Currently there are 210 police officers, 45 criminal investigators and there are 279 civilians, acting as support staff for the department . There are an approximate 1.9 police officers per 1,000 people and one officer is responsible for patrolling 70 square miles (180 km2) of reservation land. The Navajo Nation Police are funded by federal contracts and grants and general Navajo Nation funds.
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The Treaty of 1868 that released the Navajos from their captivity at Fort Sumner established law enforcement as the responsibility of the Federal Government and was administered by the Branch of Law and Order. The first Navajo Police were created in 1872. They were dissolved three years later despite their successes. Although there were police on the reservation, they were funded and supported by the United States Government. The Navajo Nation Police Department was not re-established until 1959 per request of the Navajo Tribal Council. Not only were they responsible for law enforcement, but they were also responsible for the care and custody of prisoners.
All officers are issued Glock 22 40 Cal. side arm, expandable baton, handcuffs, bulletproof vest, pepper spray and portable radio linked to a central dispatch. Rural substation officers are issued take home cars, a choice of a shot gun or AR15 semi-auto rifle, spikestrips and radar guns. There are over 200 vehicles in the Police Department’s fleet ranging from SUV’s including: 4×4 Chevrolet Tahoes, 2WD Pursuit Tahoes, 4×4 Chevrolet Blazers, 4×4 Chevrolet Suburban and 4×4 Jeep Liberty’s to Sedans: Chevrolet Impala and Ford Crown Victoria. There is also Kawasaki Kz1000 for Motor Units, 4 Wheelers for special events/ crowd control and bicycle units. All patrol vehicles are currently outfitted with laptop computers working with local WiFi internet connections to help officers write and file reports electronically. The department recently obtained a new mobile command post vehicle and is assigned to the Shiprock District.