New public safety facility opens in Kayenta

KAYENTA, Ariz. - A new public safety facility opened May 29 in Kayenta.

Council Delegate Nathaniel Brown (Chilchinbeto, Dennehotso, Kayenta) and Council Delegate Raymond Smith, Jr. (Houck, Klagetoh, Nahata Dziil, Tsé Si áni, Wide Ruins), vice chair of the Law and Order Committee, attended the grand opening.

The public safety facility will house the police department and corrections, with the capacity to hold approximately 84 inmates-60 beds for males, 20 beds for females, and four temporary holding cells for juveniles.

Brown said he was appreciative of the invitation to serve as one of the keynote speakers at the event. He addressed a large crowd of police officers, emergency medical personnel, corrections officers, fire fighters, public safety administration and staff and local community members.

"We need to continue advocating for the safety of our Navajo people. The utmost underlying goal is to ensure that public safety has the necessary facilities to carry out their jobs efficiently and safely," Brown said.

He added he would continue to advocate for additional public safety facilities in all agencies of the Nation and would continue to support Legislation No. 0155-15, a bill seeking a referendum to allow Navajo voters to determine if approximately $206 million from the principle amount of the Permanent Trust Fund should be used to complete construction of public safety facilities throughout the Navajo Nation.

If approved by the Navajo Nation Council, the referendum measure must pass with at least two-thirds supporting votes of all registered voters that cast a ballot.

Smith toured the public safety facility with the Navajo Nation Police Department and said he was impressed with the construction of the building.

"This facility was constructed very good, but more importantly I am pleased with the adequate space that it will give to police and corrections officers. They can now leave the dilapidated buildings and begin working in an environment that is conducive to an efficient public safety program," Smith said.

Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye and Vice President Jonathan Nez also attended the opening.

Nez said he was proud of the committees and Council for continuing to push the initiative forward.

"We got funding through [the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act] for these facilities to be built, and we thank the Obama administration for that," Nez said. "The next thing we need to all work on, and I challenge the community and the leadership, is we need a new court building."

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