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Lena Fowler, Law Enforcement Meet for Coconino Interagency Response

April 18
14:54 2014

Bringing law enforcement together from various agencies in the sprawling Coconino County has been a priority for District 5 County Supervisor Lena Fowler, and April 18 marked the 5th annual interagency response meeting.   Law enforcement and emergency representatives from the Navajo Nation, City of Page, Page Fire Department, Coconino County Sheriff’s Department, Glen Canyon National Monument, and Kane County Utah met today to share information and resources.  After the meeting, they enjoyed an informal cookout as an opportunity to visit and connect.

Lena Fowler Interagency Law Enforcement Meeting

County Supervisor Fowler at Interagency Law Enforcement Meeting

These are first responders to many unique situations that only exist in these remote areas,” Fowler explained, “this is a multijurisdictional area.  This annual gathering is an opportunity for officers get to know one another to make it easier to work together.  The better the law enforcement work together, the better it is for the public.” — Lean Fowler, Coconino County Supervisor, District 5

Fowler originally organized the multijurisdictional law enforcement gathering with Glen Canyon Chief Ranger Brent McGinn who was killed in a tragic, off-duty plane accident in Utah’s Dixie National Forest in October of 2010. Also killed in the accident was Dangling Rope District Ranger Laurie Axelson. The tradition of meeting at the Glen Canyon Recreational Area Wahweap Ranger Station has continued as originally planned by Ranger Brent McGinn.

A coordinated response between Lake Powell and Utah law enforcement and emergency crews is vital in the Page Lake Powell area.  Glen Canyon Ranger, Matt Werner, recalls his rescue of a recent rock climber:

Matt Werner, Ranger, Glen Canyon National Monument

Matter Werner, left, rescued climber hanging above Lake Powell

On April 5th, I was called to rescue a man who had fallen about 30 feet while solo climbing Gregory Butte. He was hanging about 600 feet above Lake Powell.  The guy was in and out of consciousness.  It took me a couple of hours to get to him.  Along with Ranger Kean Mihata and the Kane County Search and Rescue, we were able to get to him. Because of the coordinated efforts of the Utah Highway Patrol, Classic Lifeguard and Guardian Air helicopters the guy was able to get emergency care in time and is now in stable condition. — Matt Werner, Ranger, Glen Canyon National Monument

Many of the emergency responses in Northern Arizona that hit the media involve fires, lost or injured hikers or accidents; but in these remote areas, anything can happen.   Fowler recalls one unusual incident that occurred in Marble Canyon in which emergency and law enforcement assisted:

Last September of 2013, I was attending a Friends of the Cliffs meeting in Marble Canyon, when a helicopter suddenly landed.  It turns out that a member of an Ashfork highschool basketball team returning home from a game in Fredonia had a seizure inside the school bus. It was a stressful situation for the young man, his team, the coach and the bus driver.  The boy was helicoptered out at Marble Canyon, but by then it was very late at night.  I knew the bus wouldn’t arrive in Ashfork until after 2am.  I was so worried about those boys and the bus driver.  I was able to get coordinated help from our Coconino County Sheriff and State Police to escort the bus all the way back to Ashfork so they would feel safe. In the wee hours of the morning, I got a call from the Ashfork Police that every member of the team and the bus driver had returned home safely. I was so thankful for the coordinated efforts of our law enforcement.

Lena Fowler Jim Driscoll

Jim Driscoll, Coconino County Sheriff with Lena Fowler, Supervisor

In this year’s Interagency Law Enforcement meeting, Lena Fowler announced a Ham Radio emergency system that has been set up at Marble Canyon and Jacob Lake.  It will then move to the Navajo Nation.  This system will help responders get interagency help more quickly to those remote areas.

Also on this year’s agenda, a new online CodeRED emergency notification service was presented by Jim Driscoll, Chief Deputy, Coconino County Sheriff’s Department.  Coconino County has invested in CodeRED to keep residents aware and informed about the fast-changing and often severe weather and emergency incidents — wildfires,  dust storms, thunderstorms and flash flooding that can impact our region throughout the year. An “All Call” test of the CodeRED system was conducted on Friday, April 18th on a Countywide basis, and 40,000 people were contacted at 2pm. Individuals and businesses may create a CodeRED Managed Account at www.Coconino.AZ.Gov/ReadyCoconino.

Residents of Kane County, Utah may also sign up for an Emergency notifier which can be found at  Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and click on the button that says “Everbridge Emergency Notification.”

Another cooperative endeavor between state, county, Bureau of Indian Affairs and Navajo Nation officials was the response to the Highway 89 landslide just 26 miles South of Page.  A slideshow by ADOT (Arizona Department of Transportation) presented the re-routing of the highway at the landslide location as well as their schedule of repairs. Read more about Highway 89 Collapse and Repair


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