Law enforcement agents and prosecutors on the Navajo Nation have joined forces to advocate for the creation of a public safety fund to help deal with an increase in violent crime.
Criminals have been getting more aggressive and do not fear prosecution because they are aware of the tribe’s shortage of police officers, prosecutors and judges, authorities say in a letter supporting the fund. The public safety fund would help hire more people to fill these positions and provide various departments with more advanced technology to fight crime, The Gallup Independent reported.
The letter was signed by Navajo Nation Attorney General Ethel Branch, acting Chief Justice Allen Sloan, police Chief Phillip Francisco and Chief Prosecutor Gertrude Lee.
The call for more reinforcement comes after Navajo Nation Police Officer Houston Largo was shot and killed after responding to a domestic disturbance call in March.
Two double homicides were reported in two different communities, Tuba City and Shiprock, during the Christmas holiday, Branch said. Another homicide was reported Dec. 31 at the Ramah Navajo Chapter.
The creation of a public safety fund “would allow our Police Department and Prosecutor’s Office, as well as other entities in the Nation’s Public Safety System, an additional source of funds to further build up their staff and respond dynamically to needs in our communities such as spikes in crime levels in specific communities,” Branch said.
Navajo Nation lawmakers are considering legislation that would create the public safety fund with money earned from a $58 million court settlement for the tribe. It has support from President Russell Begaye.