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Darren Coldwell Wants to Hear from the Navajo Police Chief

Darren Coldwell Wants to Hear from the Navajo Police Chief
October 29
05:53 2021

Mutual Aid Between Page and the Navajo Nation Ending?

City Manager Darren Coldwell

Page City Manager Darren Coldwell has been after the Navajo Nation Police Chief, Phillip Francisco, to respond to the city’s request that a meeting be arranged to discuss the mutual aid agreement between the city and the Nation, in place since 2016. In the letter (below), Mr. Coldwell says the time is now to discuss the agreement, to keep things safe for the Western area Navajo people and Page emergency personnel.

 

October 27,2021

Dear Chief Francisco,

            This letter is a follow-up to the letter in which I expressed concerns that the City of Page was worried about the current state of emergency services response on the Navajo Nation surrounding Page.  The letter was sent to yourself, Captain Williams, and Jesse Delmar I have enclosed a courtesy copy of that letter for your review. As you can see that letter outlined some worries relating to emergency response by the City into Navajo Nation territory and the lack of appropriate agreements for the City response or requests for mutual aid. At the conclusion of the letter, it was politely requested that a meeting to discuss concerns and potential solutions be considered. Unfortunately, no one from Navajo PD or any branch of the Navajo Nation government responded to the request for a meeting. Instead, the City was very disappointed to see that Chief Francisco chose to speak to the media instead of reaching out to the City directly. See Navajo Times, “Page threatens to stop responding to police calls from nearby rez,” October 7, 2021.

            The City was further disappointed, and frankly confused, to see that Chief Francisco publicly stated that Page resources “have rarely, if at all, in the last year or two, come onto Navajo Nation to take calls or assist us.” In order to set the record straight, included is a call log since 2016 (the year that the Mutual Aid Agreement was signed) evidencing that the City police have received 754 calls for service from the Navajo Nation. 269 of those calls for service have come in the last 24 months. Additionally, Page Fire/EMS has responded onto the Navajo Nation 910 times since 2016. Had Chief Francisco bothered to reach out and discuss the matter with the City as requested, the City could have shared these statistics and others that highlight the need for a change in the current practices.

            The City truly does not want to see our friends, family members, and neighbors on the Navajo Nation suffer due to a lack of emergency response. Nevertheless, the good people of LeChee, Coppermine and Kaibeto among others, are exasperated at the lack of public safety response to those areas of the reservation. Without a drastic change in practices by the Navajo PD, the exasperation will certainly increase significantly on 11/1 when the City will no longer be able to respond to the hundreds of calls for service per year that we currently handle on the Navajo Nation.

            Time is of the essence. If the Navajo Nation has any desire to work with Page for emergency services moving forward, we must act now. We eagerly await the opportunity to discuss these critical services and a mutually beneficial arrangement for both City and Navajo Nation residents.   

Darren Coldwell

 

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