Recent school shootings prompt Nation to re-evaluate active shooter readiness

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — The Nation needs to be prepared for unpredictable incidents such as active shooter incidents, said Council Delegate and Law and Order Committee (LOC) chair Edmund Yazzie.

On March 12, the LOC received a report from the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety (NNDPS) and Navajo Nation Police Department regarding various public safety issues including active shooter readiness on the Navajo Nation.

“Active shooter incidents have increased drastically throughout the country,” Yazzie said. “The Nation needs to enhance preparedness and prevention to ensure the safety of schools, communities and the workplace.”

Yazzie also asked if NNDPS has proper guidelines and procedures to address the issue.

According to NNDPS director Ronald Silversmith, the police department has proper procedures to respond to active shooters and continues to establish resources for school, community and workplace awareness. NNDPS has direct communication with schools, added Silversmith.

During the discussion, LOC member Council Delegate Kee Allen Begay, Jr. (Low Mountain, Many Farms, Nazlini, Tachee/Blue Gap, Tselani/Cottonwood) raised concerns regarding the number of police officers and police response time for rural communities and schools.

“Does NNDPS have the resources to respond to active shooter incidents for rural communities and schools in a timely manner and has the department established proper procedures for all the different school types within the Nation?” Begay asked.

Michael Henderson, chief of police of the NNPD, stated police departments have direct contact with schools and that the schools also have the authority to initiate a shutdown and request for assistance during harmful threats.

Following the discussion, LOC vice chair Council Delegate Raymond Smith, Jr. (Houck, Klagetoh, Nahata Dziil, Tsé Si áni, Wide Ruins) also requested updates regarding the placement of a police officer within the Nahata Dziil region and the search for funding to purchase fleet vehicles for criminal investigators.

The Law and Order Committee approved the report with a 2-0 vote.

Under the directions of Speaker LoRenzo Bates (Nenahnezad, Newcomb, San Juan, Tiis Tsoh Sikaad, Tse’Daa’Kaan, Upper Fruitland), Diné College will provide an active shooter awareness presentation for its employees this month.

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