County approves agreement for McKinley County, Navajo officers

Gallup, New Mexico (AP) 8-07
McKinley County sheriff’s deputies and Navajo police officers with the tribe’s eastern agency would be able enforce laws across their jurisdictions under a measure approved by county commissioners.

Commissioners voted in favor of the cross-commission agreement at a meeting during August. It now goes to Gov. Bill Richardson for approval.

McKinley County Attorney Doug Decker said the agreement will help because both agencies lack enough officers to fully patrol their jurisdictions.

Because of previous court rulings, Decker said the agreement will not allow Navajo police to prosecute non-Indian nor non tribal members in their courts. And if a Navajo violates tribal law and is arrested by a sheriff’s deputy, that person will be turned over to tribal authorities.

The last cross-commissioning agreement between the county and the Navajo Nation expired four years ago.