Navajo Police Department hopes to hire 500 officers
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FARMINGTON, N.M. — The Navajo Nation is home to the largest Native American territory in the country, and in order to properly police such a large area, it requires a lot of resources.
For the first time, Navajo police are holding recruitment drives in cities like Bloomfield and Farmington. Lenard Redhorse, the Navajo Police Department commander for the Shiprock Police District, says this is an important strategy to get the word out.
“What is one of the best ways that we can engage our population in order to consider becoming members of our organization, and from there, the brainstorming, the sessions, we said, ‘let’s go ahead and extend our recruitments towards these border town regions,’” Redhorse said.
They are looking to boost the tribal police force by hiring 500 additional officers.
“There is a need for police officers on the Navajo Nation, and to put it in perspective for the Northern Navajo Agency we have 4,200 square miles of responsibility…the only way we can provide quality services to our tribal members is if we increase the number of our patrol officers,” Redhorse added.
At the national level – where police departments are struggling to hire officers – Redhorse hopes these recruitment efforts off of tribal territory, will increase the number of officers on territory.
“Just because we are the Navajo Police organization, that we are only employing Dinѐ citizens, and that’s not the case, we are open to all individuals who want to provide service, who have a desire to go ahead and exercise independent judgment we want to seek those individuals who…. can make a difference within the larger community,” Redhorse said.
Grant Skeet, background investigator for the Navajo Police headquarters, said they are looking at even more ways to stay competitive.
“To provide a career opportunity for those wanting to make a career change or barely starting out, the police department is thinking of lowering the age limit to 18 so hopefully we can do that and get others interested,” Skeet said.
The next and final recruitment drive will take place this Sunday at 9 a.m. at Ricketts Park Field in Farmington.