Inside Navajo Nation with Sheriff (Different Reality)

Dec 11, 2022 1.2M Views 3K Comments

Each Native American Reservation is like a sovereign nation. On these lands, the law works differently for Natives and non-Natives. Join me as we meet with Navajo County Sheriff David Clouse to learn about the fascinating differences in the law on the Navajo Nation Reservation.

► Video edited by: Natalia Santenello
► Researched by: Kymberly Redmond

-Good morning, guys.
I’ve been told by many Natives
that life on the reservation
is like life in a different country
and each tribe is like a different nation.
So today we’re gonna meet up
with a Navajo County sheriff
who’s gonna bring us in and explain to us
how the law works differently.
For example, me, if I get pulled over
on Navajo land versus a Native.
There’s all sorts of
interesting nuance taking place.
All under the great auspice
of the United States
but like I said,
countries within countries.
Super fascinating what I’ve discovered
these last few weeks.
I want to bring you guys into it.
Let’s do it.
♪ melodic acoustic guitar ♪
Okay guys, we’re meeting
with Sheriff David Clouse.
Who’s agreed to take me around.
I think he’s gonna show me around
but I gotta put the camera down here.
I’m just coming up on law enforcement.
Rather have the camera down for a bit
and we’ll resume.
Okay great, we’re in, guys.
Sheriff agreed to give us a ride along.
All right, Sheriff.
-You ready?
-Ready.
-Okay.
-Sheriff David Clouse and…
-Tori Gorman.
-Tori, nice to meet you.
PETER: So sheriff, you were saying
you’re sixth generation Arizonan?
-Yes.
We’re here in Navajo County.
One of the first settlements
outside the reservations.
A community called Snowflake.
And my great-great-grandfather
founded that community.
My great-grandfather was a deputy sheriff
for the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office…
in the ’30s and then my grandfather
was sheriff when I was a little boy.
-So you’re rooted here?
-Yeah, second generation sheriff.
Third generation law enforcement.
-So this is interesting.
I think most people would think
on a reservation
you’re not gonna see McDonald’s,
Chevron, Burger King, but it’s normal here.
-Just here, yeah.
-Just here in this town?
-Yeah.
So they’re still big
in their mask mandates here.
-Yeah, and just for the record,
this is October, what are we?
I lost date, 22nd or something?
-26th.
-26th, 2022
and the mask mandate, full effect.
-Sovereign nation.
So that’s probably something
you’ll want to get into.
-Yeah, we’ll get into that today for sure.
So it’s like its own nation?
-It’s its own nation.
So they can set a lot of their own
health mandates, rules like that.
Although we’re in the State of Arizona,
we’re in the county of Navajo.
The Navajo Nation still
has a mask mandate.
Arizona does not, Navajo County…
And we’ve never had one.
♪ country country music ♪
DAVID: You need some sugar?
PETER: So Navajos like country music?
DAVID: Oh, yeah.
DAVID: We’re eating
some traditional fried bread here.
PETER: That’s like the fair almost, right?
-Yeah.
-You wanna try some?
-I’ll give it a go.
-It’s just bread, you know?
-Okay.
Thank you.
It’s pretty straightforward. Just bread?
-Yeah.
Obviously the Navajo people have
been here for who knows how long.
Navajo bread according to them
is not really a traditional food
and it makes sense when
you hear the story.
So when the US government started
making its way out here,
claiming territories and they
sent out the Army first, right?
They had these forts set up.
They rounded up the Navajos and they
just put them in camps or whatever.
-Mm-hmm.
-Or they moved them out to Oklahoma.
Remember the Trail of Tears and all that?
-Sure.
-Well all they gave ’em was like,
lard, flower, water, grease,
and so that’s when
they started making the fried bread.
-Okay.
And then they became addicted?
-[chuckling] Yeah.
-How does the jurisdiction work?
There are Navajo police,
reservation police, right?
Then there’s the county sheriff,
which is you.
-So you got Arizona,
which we’re in the state of Arizona.
The Constitution of the state of Arizona
was built around counties
and then the office of Sheriff.
-Okay.
-So Sheriff is your chief
law enforcement officer
for each of these counties.
It’s an elected official.
It’s an elected position.
Federal government really doesn’t have
a role in law enforcement.
Especially in Arizona.
The role that they play would be
border security and federal, FBI.
Which cross state jurisdiction
and stuff like that.
-Sure.
-When you get on the Navajo Nation,
all that changes.
In Navajo County
we have three tribal governments.
We have the Navajo Nation,
we have the Hopi tribe,
and then we have
the White Mountain Apache Tribe.
So Apache, Hopi, and Navajo.
Some of the three larger
and more historic tribes.
A lot of great history there.
-Okay.
-So the federal government means that
these are considered sovereign nations.
The federal government has a lot of
interaction with the tribes, not the state.
-Interesting, okay.
-Okay?
So the Navajo Nation crosses three states,
Utah, Arizona, New Mexico,
and it crosses in 11 counties.
And so you gotta think they have
a lot that they’re working with there.
So law enforcement on the Navajo Nation
is a little different than some of
the other tribes ’cause it’s larger.
A lot of them are just ran through BIA,
Bureau of Indian Affairs.
-Okay, yeah.
-They don’t use BIA.
They kicked BIA out a couple decades ago
because they just went to
their own law enforcement services.
So on the Navajo Nation
you primarily have two jurisdictions.
Well three, we’ll add us.
You have the FBI.
The Federal Bureau…
Which is across the country.
They handle all major crimes
on Indian country.
Then they have
the Navajo Nation Police Department.
Which handles all misdemeanor-type crimes.
So where do we play into all that?
So you just went into Chevron with us.
You so some non…
We’ll just call them non-tribal members.
-Yep.
-We’ll just talk of the two.
You have a tribal member.
Which is a member of the Navajo Nation
or you can even be Hopi, or Zuni,
and you’re on Tribal land,
you’re still a tribal member.
So all Natives, regardless if
they’re on their home tribe or not,
they’re only under the jurisdiction
of the federal government
not the state government.
-Okay.
-So that sovereignty carries over
from tribe to tribe.
Where here, in Monument Valley
so you have a lot of tourists.
You got people from out of state,
out of country, in state.
So say somebody that’s come from
Holbrook or Winslow
is driving through,
and they’re not a tribal member,
and they commit a crime here,
they fall under my jurisdiction.
-Okay, so if I committed a crime here,
you’re coming?
-I’m coming for you.
-Okay, but if I was Navajo,
you’re not coming?
You can’t touch me?
-I can’t… Yeah.
-Wow, that’s gotta be difficult.
-Yeah, it’s one of those things.
-Coordinated?
-It’s coordinated, we have
a great relationship with the tribes.
We have a great relationship
with the court
but if you commit a crime…
Say you’re a tribal member,
you commit a crime off tribal land.
You’re under my jurisdiction.
-Yeah.
-And I can charge you under state law.
State crime.
But you leave and I don’t apprehend you,
and you come up on the Navajo Nation,
I cannot remove you off the Navajo Nation.
-So say you’re in a police chase
and that Navajo resident is just…
He’s off the reservation, he gets onto
reservation land, you have to stop?
-That’s accurate.
PETER: All right, look at this guys.
Monument Valley.
[car horn]
One of the true wonders of the nation
wouldn’t you say?
-Yes, and of Arizona.
-I’ve never been here.
Wow.
-And you want a little funny story?
-Yeah.
-So during the pandemic this was shut down.
They didn’t have it open a lot
and they slowly opened it at one point
but these vendors are all local.
-Okay.
-So down there…
So they’re locals that will make food.
-These guys in the cars?
-Yeah, and so they sell jewelry,
they sell blankets,
they sell pottery and food.
-Okay, sure.
-And so we brought all the sheriffs here
during the pandemic
and we had a photo here,
and we had a meeting here.
It’s just a cool place, right?
Tori was here and we…
We know we had eaten and there was
this lady down there selling…
What was it, Tori, a spam…
TORI: Spam sandwich.
[Peter chuckling]
DAVID: Spam sandwich and Tory ate one.
PETER: How was it?
TORI: It was delicious.
-Okay.
-It was ’cause Sheriff shut the whole…
Sheriff Dedman shut the whole thing down.
DAVID: Yeah, they were mad.
They were upset because
they weren’t making money.
‘Cause they were like,
“Why is nobody coming today?”
‘Cause they closed it for us.
-Oh.
-And so there was no tourists,
and so Tori felt bad,
and so she bought a sandwich off of ’em.
-Well she had fried bread on the menu
but she said all she had
was a spam sandwich.
[giggling]
PETER: So Tori, can I ask you a question?
Is that cool?
-Sure.
-So you grew up
within the Navajo Nation but…
No? Okay.
-No, I grew up in Taylor.
-Where’s that?
[all laughing]
-It’s where I live.
-Okay.
But your parents…
-My dad spent some time
on the Hopi Reservation but….
-Okay.
So do you have any connection when you
come onto the reservations or not really?
-No.
-No, you don’t feel it?
-She’s not your best sample.
She grew up in Snowflake Taylor.
-Sheriff, what is crime like these days
on the reservation?
Let’s say comparatively
to years in the past.
Or is it a high crime area?
Is it pretty low or…
-Well, I think certain communities
are higher than others.
-It’s always been something
that they struggled with
when I go to local chapter meetings
and stuff like that.
You gotta remember the reservation
is a dry reservation.
Which means no alcohol.
-Okay.
-So there’s a lot of
bootlegging that goes on.
Of course they have the same troubles
with drug trafficking.
When you think of the Navajo Nation
has only 150 sworn officers
and it’s the size of West Virginia.
-Wow.
-Probably 1,500 to 2,000 square miles
for one patrol area.
One or two officers.
So there are two hour responses
to several things.
And a lot of calls
don’t even get responded to.
-Okay.
-And so I’m not saying
there’s a higher crime rate.
It’s just there’s
not as much police presence.
-Yeah.
-So you’re seeing that
in the larger cities of America.
Where they’re not taking crime seriously.
-Yeah.
And they’re letting these
smash and grab robberies happen.
What are we seeing?
We’re seeing crime rate go up.
-Yeah.
-Same thing’s happening
on the the Navajo nation.
-Okay.
-Not that the people are more violent
or anything like that.
There’s just no law enforcement presence.
-Right, no accountability
so people can get away with it easier.
-Yeah.
Like, are there people living…
Like, we’re seeing way out there.
Are there people living
out there in those places?
-You see those?
Those are people that live out there.
-Oh, just the roofs there?
-Yeah, the rooftops there.
-So this, you… I mean it’s just…
The Navajos, from what I’m gathering,
like to live apart from one another.
They like a lot of space.
-Pretty remote,
I mean they have a lot of land.
And kind of how that works is
if I’m a Navajo member and I…
Say I live way down in Window Rock
and I wanted to move up here,
I just can’t move out there.
You have to show ties
that this is your homeland.
That your family settled here.
I just can’t come homestead on it.
-Okay.
[inaudible chatter]
DAVID: Cool, well you couldn’t have
picked a better spot.
MAN: Yeah.
Appreciate it.
I say I got arrested…
I’m just kidding.
-Did you remember we came up here
with all the horses?
All the sheriffs did last summer.
-Oh, no.
TORI: Last September.
-Were you working here?
Here’s a keychain from us.
-Oh, thank you, sir.
TORI: Scoot back.
MAN: We’ll come out towards this way.
PETER: Sheriff, here’s a crazy question.
Say hypothetically,
you attack this nice gentleman,
what happens with law enforcement?
-It would be local PD.
-Local PD would come in and cuff you?
-Yeah.
[Tori giggling]
-He’s trying to learn
the jurisdiction thing.
Where the sheriffs…
PETER: He’s not gonna attack you,
he’s a very nice guy.
-But he is trying to learn it.
-So let’s put you…
If you attacked him I would arrest you.
-Okay.
If he attacks me…
-If he attacked you I can’t do anything.
But I do have a cross commission
with the tribe.
I can detain him and wait for…
But I can’t arrest him.
I can’t take him to Holbrook
or anything like that.
But I can take law enforcement action
if that makes sense.
-What if we just
attack each other right now?
-We’ll have Tori.
PETER: Tori takes care of business?
We’re just learning, sir, how it works.
-Let’s take a picture with both you guys.
-Okay.
-[inaudible]
-Let’s do it.
All right.
TORI: One, two, three.
MAN: This is what they call Central Mesa.
I live on the other side of it.
-Oh, wow.
Amazing stars at night here, huh?
-Oh yeah.
-Amazing stars?
-We also encountered some abnormal,
paranormal stuff out here.
We see abnormal lights fly in
from that rock way over there
coming off to that side.
-A lot of reservations,
they have the little men.
It’s an interesting story.
-But they have more… skin walkers.
-Skin walkers?
-Yeah.
What they have, shape shifters
and you get a lot of that around here.
And sometimes when it comes to it,
when you see those,
they’re bad….
They’re bad, you know, bad spirits.
-Okay.
-So some people, some locals, they…
How they do that is they sell
their loved one’s soul to the devil.
-Okay.
-And that’s how they become powerful.
To be into shape shifting into animal,
to human, back to animal.
-To move spirits
between the different life forms.
-Yeah, that happens around here.
-That’s interesting.
So I was saying that it’s almost impossible
to get law enforcement on camera.
Though I’ve gotten a sheriff on camera.
And you’re saying
sheriffs are easier because…
-‘Cause their office of law enforcement
is so unique and so different
than anybody else.
Federal government’s very tight-lipped.
Federal law enforcement.
-Yeah.
They’re not gonna open up?
-They’re not gonna open up.
The sheriff is elected by the people,
from the people.
The power comes from the people
and the authority is from
the State of Arizona
granted to us by the people in an election.
We don’t answer to city councils.
We don’t answer to a manager.
We don’t answer to…
We answer to the people.
And so there’s a lot more
access to a sheriff
and a sheriff, that’s our job is to be…
To report back to the people
and to let them know
what’s going on in their community.
But there are some states where
they’re trying to do away with the sheriff.
-Okay, so is it because the sheriff
is very much a localized thing
and they’re trying to
make it more centralized?
-They don’t like the power
that the sheriff has.
When I say they… Those that are
trying to control everything.
If you have a governor, if you have
a state legislature that doesn’t…
Not like the way
that certain counties are running.
They like to have that control very…
-Okay, so a sheriff department
is like the opposite of centralization?
-Correct, local.
-Okay.
It’s all about local representation.
-Local control, local representation.
-Which in a country like ours that’s
so huge, with so many different cultures,
and ways of looking at life,
I think that’s important.
So this is a voting booth, right?
Is that what’s going on?
It’s blowing away. [chuckles]
-It’s blowing away.
So this is the chapter house,
senior center.
So this is kind of the central hub for…
And each community, this is where
the people can come get water.
This is where they have monthly meetings.
[David speaking inaudibly]
David Clouse, I’m not on there.
[Peter chuckling]
He’s like, “Vote for me.”
-You want a picture?
We’ll take a picture.
Peter’s with me, he’s doing a story
on the sheriff’s office and stuff
and so we’ve just been kind of
driving around, looking around.
We saw the tents, we said,
“Hey, that’s the place to be.”
WOMAN: You missed out on
all the Navajo tacos.
-Oh, man.
PETER: Aw, I haven’t had one.
-Oh, man.
WOMAN: So you’ve been wanting
to travel all the miles?
PETER: Oh, thank you, ma’am.
-And you can add a dash of salt.
-Okay, that’s how you do it?
-And then you can add cheese.
I think we’ve got a little bit
of cheese here if you want that.
-Okay.
-I was out there helping.
[all chattering and laughing]
PETER: You have the full monty here,
thank you, ladies.
WOMAN: That’s all we got left…
The last (bread) with cheese order.
But you know what?
I like dipping it in bean juice.
You guys want some bean juice?
-Oh, yeah.
-chili beans and you can dip it in there.
-Do you mind here?
WOMAN: That’s your first rodeo
right on the rally here…
-It’s my first rodeo.
-You got it.
-Did you make this?
-Yes.
All night long.
-Yeah?
-Singing along with it, yeah.
You sang a nice song?
Did you make a dance?
-There you go.
Yep, I did.
-Oh yeah.
-See?
[speaking Navajo]
[man and woman speaking Navajo]
PETER: Ma’am, that’s beautiful.
Your language,
I’ve never heard that before.
-Never, are you kidding me?
-It’s beautiful… I don’t live out here.
I live in Florida.
Do you speak your language a lot
in your daily life?
-Aoo’ [Navajo], yes.
-Every day?
-Aoo’.
-Okay, what about younger people?
Are they speaking so much
or not as much?
-Not as much.
-Not as much?
But with the older people
like this gentleman?
-Yes, aoo’, yes.
-Okay.
-So you picked that up already didn’t you?
-“Aoo’” is yes.
So every time you ask me a question…
and I say, “aoo’”,
then I refer it right back to yes.
-What would you say for hello?
How about hello?
-Yá’át’ééh.
-Yá’át’ééh?
-Aoo’.
You got it, right off the bat.
Yeah, you you got it.
-So you grew up here?
-Yeah.
I grew up in Chinle and I lived there…
I lived in (Honaghaahnii).
I’m (Honaghaahnii) clan-wise.
-I’m her grandpa,
she’s my paternal granddaughter.
-Oh, okay.
-Clan-wise.
-Clan-wise?
-Yeah, ‘cause we get four clans.
-What do you mean by clan-wise?
-My paternal grandpa, my dad’s dad…
-Uh-huh.
He’s a Tabaaha, Edgewater Clan
but it’s the same clan she is.
-So clan is like greater family?
-Yes, I’m a Salt clan.
-Okay.
My mom is a Salt clan.
We carry the clan of the mother’s.
-Okay.
My dad’s a traveling,
wandering person clan, explorer clan.
-Okay.
-Some refer to it as Mexican clan.
So I’m Salt clan born for Mexican clan.
Now my mom’s dad is Tsi’naajinii,
the Wood Streak Clan.
PETER: So that’s so cool.
Is that normal?
That much friendliness?
-I love… The people are awesome.
-So there’s a good…
-We have a great relationship…
And they love…
They love when you embrace their culture
or you embrace their way of life
and then if you want
to interview them, they’re very like,
“Yes, we’ll tell you about it.”
Just the fact that you come up here…
-Yeah.
-You know if they go there obviously…
But you came here and you made
an effort, and that’s what…
His name slipped my mind but he’s…
I’ve known him for years.
-Right.
-He said, “Dave, just the fact that
you’re here just really inspires.”
and it does.
-That is cool.
-That’s why Tori gets tired
’cause I always want to come up.
[all chuckling]
-So that’s something I didn’t expect.
Like, the relationships to be
like that between
the outsider White and
the actual Natives.
-Yeah.
-It’s fine as long as you’re cool, right?
You show respect,
you get respect type thing?
-Yeah, exactly. That’s exactly what it is.
-That’s it, very basic.
-But it doesn’t just happen.
-Right.
-I’ve been coming up here for so many years
and then I’m an elected office.
They’ve elected me
and now that I’ve kept my word
and I show up, and bring the deputies,
take the work, then they want you.
-They elected you too
’cause they’re in the county?
-Yes, yes.
-So the Navajos are actually
electing you into office?
-Yes.
-But really their vote for you,
you can’t do too much for them because…
-Yeah, ’cause of the jurisdiction.
-‘Cause of the jurisdiction.
-Yes and no.
We have those cross commissions
that we have in place.
-Okay.
-And again, if a non-tribal…
Say they’re a local business owner,
if a non-tribal steals anything
I take the case.
-Yeah.
So they obviously want you here
’cause there are
non-tribal people here that commit crimes.
-Yeah, exactly.
-You were saying there’s a gang issue
on the reservation?
-Yes.
In a lot of reservations you’ll see that.
The Navajo and Apache,
some of the youth or adolescent groups,
there is a gang problem.
-So you think it’s just like anywhere
where kids are bored or not much to do,
not many outlets?
-It’s no different than the inner-city
of LA or something like that.
It’s the same dynamics.
Drug… The drug world especially in youth,
it’s where they’re competing for business.
They’re competing for territory.
Same thing and…
-You have Fentanyl up here?
-Oh, too bad… Yeah, I hate to say it.
Yes, we do… but we do.
-That took off when?
Couple years ago it got really popular?
-So 2019, I remember we got
our first big Fentanyl bust and that…
‘Cause we have Interstate 40
that runs through our county.
-Sure.
-That is a big corridor for drugs
from Southern Arizona, the border.
And then taking it back East.
2019, we got our first significant load
of 6,000 or 7,000 pills
and I still remember being shocked,
it was one of the larger in Arizona.
But we’re getting 60,000 to 70,000 loads
sometimes twice in a week.
So we had housing back here
the township had given us.
-They wanted you to rent a house?
-They wanted us to rent that,
we rented that for a bit.
-So what, just to hang out here?
-Well, so we’d have a deputy
live in the community.
So they would provide the housing
’cause they really want
the law enforcement present.
Remember I was talking to you earlier
about they’re so spread out, you know?
-Yeah.
-They can respond an hour that way,
an hour that way.
I have another resident deputy
south of here in a community called Pinon.
-Okay.
-It’s got a little higher crime rate
and they have a little more need down there
and so we keep him down there
but I’m trying to hire another one
to live up here.
-Do you have any Navajo friends?
-Just the ones that I’ve met
through work, you know?
The judge here, she’s a real good friend.
She always invites me to
traditional ceremonies, elder dances,
and holiday events, and I bring my kids.
I’ve done more dancing,
and pow wows, and I love it, it’s fun.
Sometimes, like, they have
a lot of good schools…
They built a new school down in White Cone.
Brand new school facility,
they built it all and they never opened it.
They got the funding for the infrastructure
through the Department of Education,
the federal government,
but then they have to supply the teachers,
and this, and that.
Just never came to fruition.
-Shortage of teachers?
-Yeah.
You see a lot of that happen
on the Navajo Nation.
Where they’ll…
That jail, they built that jail
and it sat empty for four or five years
before they staffed it.
-So they have the resources out here, huh?
-Yeah, they got
the federal government grants,
and funding, and they get it,
but it’s just hard to get all the entities
to get staffed and worked.
[David speaking inaudibly]
-Former Miss Navajo Nation?
-Yeah.
-But once Miss Navajo Nation
is always Miss Navajo Nation.
-Always, yeah.
-So she’s actually
running for Tribal Council.
-Okay.
-Hey, how are you?
-Yeah.
-And she works for
Arizona State Treasury, right?
-She does everything.
-Okay.
-Getting her Master’s degree.
-I graduated in May.
-Did you? Nice.
-Yeah, from ASU.
-Oh I see you’re rocking…
PETER: What did you major in?
-I went to the business school there
and I got my Master’s in management.
-Oh, fantastic.
-Yeah.
-My senior year I won the state.
-State of Arizona?
-Utah.
-State of Utah
wrestling champion senior year?
What weight class?
-165.
-Oh, wow.
That explains your very firm hand shake.
-Ouch!
…father-in-law passed on…
He gave us the cattle and sheep.
-Okay.
-And I thought I was gonna
get away from everything.
I like it.
Keeping me moving.
-You’re working sheep on the land?
-Yeah.
-Okay, cool.
-Sheep and cattle.
-You out in the desert here somewhere?
-We live up on that.
-On top of that mountain?
-Yes, sir.
-Whoa.
You’re close to the stars up there?
-Look up when you go out
’cause there’s no light.
-Yeah.
-They built this highway in 1963.
-What was it like before,
just very remote?
-Just dirt road.
-Okay.
-I used to talk to my dad and say,
“How long did it take you
from Dennehotso to Flagstaff?”
He said, “One whole day.”
Dirt road.
-Yeah, that’s three hours now, right?
-Yeah.
PETER: Okay, so Sheriff, this is 2019?
DAVID: Yeah.
“22 pound of heroin,
1.5 pounds of Fentanyl.”
And then this is just what,
one or two years later?
-Two years later.
-Okay.
[both] 148.
PETER: Wow, so from 1.5 to 148.
And what about heroin?
-Heroin did go down but…
-So Fentanyl’s just sort of
taken over heroin?
-It’s everything.
-What, if anything,
is the federal government
or state governments doing to stop…
-The state and local law enforcement,
we’re working.
You know, the federal government’s got
the DEA and all that
but the problem is we have a porous border.
We have an open border policy
and they’re just coming through.
-So a lot of the product comes from China
then gets processed in Mexico, comes over.
-Yep.
-One thing we hear a lot
on reservations are missing persons.
Especially missing women.
What’s that situation like these days?
-We saw President Nez.
I met with him on Monday.
-Yeah.
-He had a big signing ceremony
in Twin Arrows
at the casino conference center
and he signed an executive order
on the response plan.
Community response plan to that.
Because it is an issue for them.
They call it the murdered
and missing Indigenous women.
-Is it a big problem right now?
-Yeah, it always has been.
But it’s one of those things that
they’re bringing to education on it.
They’re bringing…
Putting more resources to it and…
-Okay.
-Most importantly
they’re working with locals.
Who I mean, local law enforcement,
state officials, state, county.
Where we have those cross commissions.
Where we’re sharing information.
-Mm-hmm.
-‘Cause if the person goes missing
on Tribal land
a lot of times, sometimes they’re
recovered, or the body’s found off-state.
We’re just working better together.
PETER: School bus.
DAVID: They’re not speeding.
This yellow car kind of looks like
he’s putting on a challenge, you know?
-Some tailgating going on?
-Yeah.
DAVID: They’re all bad.
All right, let’s go with…
Let’s just do the white one, yeah.
Navajo One Charlie.
Be at 365 on 160, it’ll be a white van.
[door opens]
[car speeds past]
[door closes]
PETER: All right.
Standard procedure?
[door opens]
-Yeah, he’s going to Cortez
if you want a ride.
[police radio chatter]
So everything’s good, you know?
When you stop a guy,
you’re looking for, one, impairment.
You’re looking for warrants,
you’re looking for valid driver’s license,
registration, insurance,
make sure all that’s good.
Then you have the traffic violation.
You can either cite ’em
or you can just give ’em a warning.
Obviously it was just a safety thing
with traveling distance
and so it’s more of an education stop.
-You’re giving him a warning?
-Yeah.
-Is it ever super scary coming up
on someone if they look sketchy?
Not saying this guy, but in general.
If they look sketchy
and you’re coming up on the car…
Oh, he does a little bit actually, huh?
-Yeah.
Um…
-Yeah, at night.
Especially remote.
With not having communications
back with your dispatch.
Um, yesterday we had…
We had a homicide in White Mountain Lake
and we had a vehicle description
leaving the scene
and I happened to be close to the area.
It was a white Cadillac Escalade
and that is a little more scary
’cause you know this vehicle
just left the scene of a person
who was shot, you know?
Numerous times.
-Yeah.
-So you know they’re armed,
you know they’re willing to kill somebody.
They just did, how desperate are they?
So those situations,
yeah, you’re a little more anxious.
-So you came up to him,
like, ready with your gun or what?
-No, we had two or three of us
and we called him out.
-Okay.
-So you just get on the PA and you say,
“Driver, exit the vehicle, hands up.”
-How is that leaving home?
You leave your family in the morning,
and you go out, and you do that.
-Yeah, especially when you’ve got
five mouths to feed and children, you know?
That’s why I appreciate those that are
so supportive of law enforcement.
‘Cause they’re doing a public service
and they’re just an average guy.
Goes to church, goes to school,
maybe he’s the soccer coach,
and he’s a father, a mother,
and he’s a son, a daughter,
and they’re just living their life too.
-And there’s the risk
that you’re gonna get shot?
-Yeah, just to keep
you and I safe every day.
-All right.
-All right, let’s get rid of this guy.
-I’m like, “How do you do it?”.
Like, how does your family feel about it?
-Right.
-It’s… Pinon’s rough.
Super rough.
PETER: So would there ever be a point
where you’re like,
“That’s just too much violence,
I don’t wanna…”
Like it’s not… You’re not dealing with
guns every day coming at you
but I’m just saying would there become
a point where you’re like,
“This is too much risk to take on.”?
[David sighs]
I think about that for those that work
Seattle, Portland, Chicago.
They all had the backing
of their city council.
They all had the backing
of half their community.
They want to defund them,
they want to do those things
and they’re putting their life on the line
or they go and they take enforcement action
to defend somebody
and then they get accused of a crime.
I probably wouldn’t keep doing it
because why would you do it?
The city’s given up on you
but in Arizona…
I was telling you a little bit
about my history.
I feel like this is my calling in life.
-Sure.
Historical connection there
and when you work in a community
where you have so many people that
are behind you…
We got to…
I was at this rally this morning with Tori.
-Mm-hmm.
Rally… It was a school rally
at the local school in Holbrook.
It’s red ribbon week,
you know, the drug free.
-Okay.
-And they get in there and they recognize
all the officers and the deputies.
They had me say a word.
How do you not stay motivated to help them?
-Right.
-When you show up
to their event and then they say,
“Here Sheriff, come speak
because we love you guys.”
-Sure.
-You don’t do it just for the recognition.
You do it because they want me here.
They want me part of their community.
-Right.
-And they’re depending on me, I like that.
-So the overall goal is
to get rid of bad cops and bad anything
’cause all professions
have terrible people in them
and embrace the good ones.
-I didn’t clear that stop.
Alpha one, I’ll be clear of the stop.
[door closes]
PETER: That was awesome,
thank you, Sheriff.
DAVID: Thank you.
PETER: Appreciate it.
Tori…
You guys are awesome.
Appreciate it, all the best.
-See ya.
-I’ll be in touch.
-Okay.
-All right, guys.
Another interesting view into another world
that most of us don’t know much about.
Very interesting dynamic here
on the reservation
with the different jurisdictions.
It almost feels like
being in another country.
That’s what I felt on these reservations
is you’re in the States
but you’re sort of not.
The beauty I’ve also found is
everyone’s cool.
Every Native person I’ve come into
has been hospitable, open, and inviting.
I haven’t felt any tension at all.
Just come in with respect and get respect.
So this is part of
a bigger Native series, you guys.
I have videos all the way from Montana
down now through Arizona.
Thanks for coming along.
Until the next one.
♪ melodic acoustic guitar ♪

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