WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren wants criminals who commit serious crimes on the Navajo Nation to be held accountable.
But to bring them to justice and hold them accountable, especially non-Navajos who commit crimes on the Navajo Nation, law enforcement — Navajo Nation and outside agencies — as well as the courts, must collaboratively work together.
The President had a discussion with Navajo County Attorney Brad Carlyon and Navajo County Sheriff David Clouse on how the two governments could work together to keep the public safe in Navajo County.
Carlyon shared with President Nygren of an incident involving a Mexican national who assaulted the Navajo woman he was living with in Shonto, Arizona.
Carlyon added the man was arrested and eventually pleaded guilty and is now in prison.
“We got an indictment on him for aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon,” Carlyon shared with the President.
“That’s really good to hear because I know I’m one of those types that says, ‘There’s no tolerance.’ I want to make sure that our people feel safe, which is important,” President Nygren said after Carlyon told him of a stabbing that took place in the Nation.
The President emphasized the importance of public safety and said he’d welcome more criminal justice resources and collaboration to fight crime.
“I know that people travel through Navajo. I want them to know that they can feel safe whenever they’re out and about,” the President said.
The President said he’s for it so long as outside law enforcement were cross-commissioned with the Navajo Nation.
Cross-commissioning refers to the practice of allowing officers from one jurisdiction to have legal authority in another jurisdiction. For example, a police officer from one town might be cross-commissioned to have arrest powers in a neighboring town. This can be useful in situations where officers need to pursue suspects across jurisdictional boundaries.
“I’m all for it, especially when it comes to cross commissioning,” said President Nygren.
Cross commissions were in place but, according to Carlyon, they expired in 2018.
“We’ve had them in place, the tribal council, the president before signed off on them. Our county government signed off they were all mirrored agreements,” Carlyon said to President Nygren.
The Navajo County Attorney indicated the expired agreement could be re-signed between the two governments. He added a Navajo County deputy also lives in Pinon, Arizona.
“The Navajo Nation Police Department calls him out when needed, or if it’s jurisdiction that he has, or if Navajo police come across some crazy foreigner driving too crazy in Kayenta, something like that,” said Carlyon.
The President said he will continue to support accountability of anyone who may commit a crime on and off the Navajo Nation.
Let’s get to work,” President Nygren said.