The ‘magnificent seven’, Class 59 graduates Navajo Police Training Academy

webnexttech | The ‘magnificent seven’, Class 59 graduates Navajo Police Training Academy

TWIN LAKES, N.M. They’re the “magnificent seven,” said Navajo Police Deputy Chief Ronald Silversmith. Vernon Chee, Ardy Johnson, Roy Luani, April Morris, Jonathan Robertson, Vincent Tsosie, and Laken Wauneka are the magnificent seven. On March 15, they graduated from the Navajo Police Training Academy as Class 59. Silversmith said they were named after Clint Eastwood’s The Magnificent Seven – who fought like seven hundred – because the class initially had 12 recruits, but only seven completed the academy. The class stood inside the Navajo Nation Museum’s auditorium and was sworn in to enforce Navajo Nation laws faithfully. After Silversmith and Police Chief Daryl Noon presented the Navajo Police badges, a selected family member pinned a badge on the uniform of their new officer. Chee and Robertson will serve in the Chinle Police District, Johnson, Morris, and Wauneka in the Dilkon Police District, Luani in the Tuba City Police District, and Tsosie in the Window Rock Police District. “Any day that we get to welcome new officers is a great day,” Noon said. Magnificent seven Those in attendance – in person or virtually – watched as Michael Anderson, the Division of Public Safety executive director, swore in the new officers. Patrick Sandoval, President Buu Nygren’s chief of staff, congratulated them. A few officers received awards. Chee received two awards for physical fitness and handling firearms. Wauneka received outstanding achievement for the highest athletic performance, and Tsosie received the academic award for the highest weekly scores throughout training. The seven officers initially began the police training academy with five other recruits. According to the Navajo Police Department’s 2021 organizational assessment by Strategy Matters and Public Safety Leadership, the academy staff “mentioned family issues and recruits’ discovery that the curriculum is more academically challenging than expected” as to why some recruits don’t finish. The report suggested that these issues need to be addressed if the goal of a 500-officer department is to be achieved. The Navajo Police Department personnel spoke of the need to make cultural changes within the Navajo PD and invest more in retaining good, experienced people selected from the younger generation. Anderson iterated that he visited with the academy recruits a few times during training. “These seven here are moving forward,” he said, requesting families to support their new officer. “I’m going to ask you to stand behind them,” Anderson said to those in attendance. Celebrating the ‘baddest’ The Navajo Nation is the only tribe that has a police training academy, according to Michael Anderson. “These law enforcements have joined the biggest and baddest law enforcement agency in Indian Country,” Patrick Sandoval said. The Navajo Nation Police Department and the president’s office are putting forth efforts to recruit more Navajo police officers. This calls for the Navajo Nation to meet approximately 750 police officers and say, “We have adequate police protection to provide services across Navajo,” Sandoval said. He said the Nation is not quite there nor even halfway. “We have to give it to these police officers today,” Sandoval said. “Or give it to the police officers who are on the beat right now.” Integrity and courage Michael Anderson and Patrick Sandoval restated that the Navajo police uniform is unique in color and image. The badge, which symbolizes a tsiiyeeł, is worn over the heart to serve and protect the Navajo Nation. “You’re prideful in everything you do,” Sandoval said. Sandoval said technology is advancing, and given the circumstances with lag services throughout the Nation, the president’s office and other stakeholders are pursuing better equipment to improve communications for the Navajo Police Department, its offices, and units. According to Sandoval, the Digital Equity Initiative’s “latest and greatest” technology is being pursued to push for 5G in the Nation by 2028, possibly 2027. Legislation CJN-29-22 report states that the digital equity initiative aims to bring broadband services for public safety, rural addressing, E911, public safety emergency communications, and cyber security. “Here today, we have young warriors,” said Michael Henderson, the director of the Navajo Department of Criminal Investigations. He recapped the purpose of the Navajo code of ethics and the oath each Navajo police officer read, presented, and knew.

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