Sheriff: all deputies must be cross-commissioned

Gallup, New Mexico (AP) January 2011

McKinley County Sheriff Felix Begay pledged to get each of his deputies and officers cross-commissioned so they can pursue cases on the Navajo Nation.

The 67-year-old Begay began work last week. He was sheriff twice previously, from 1989-93 and 2003-06.

Begay hopes to address jurisdictional issues on the Navajo Nation. While a few deputies and officers have been cross-trained with the Navajo Nation Department of Public Safety, most are prohibited from making arrests on tribal land.

Begay plans to meet with the Navajo Tribal Council and tribal prosecutors to discuss the effort.

He says he also hopes to improve law enforcement on the eastern portion of the Navajo reservation within McKinley County. Begay says residents have lost trust in authorities because of long delays in responding to calls for assistance.