Hopi, DPS agree to work together to police reservation
KYKOTSMOVI, Ariz. — The Hopi Tribe and the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) have agreed to work together to better police the reservation.
The tribe and DPS announced Jan. 12 an agreement to provide mutual aid between the state and the Hopi tribe.
Under the new agreement, state troopers will be cross-commissioned to enforce the tribe's criminal and traffic laws.
DPS spokesman Bart Graves said this signing makes the agreement a formal working arrangement.
“By allowing the Hopi Tribe and DPS to lend assistance across jurisdictional boundaries, this agreement enhances public safety for all Arizonans.” Graves said. “This is a historic agreement.”
Additionally, Graves said the integrated support will come in handy in cases like rescues or enforcing traffic laws and eliminating any jurisdictional issues.
Hopi Chairman Timothy Nuvangyaoma agreed, saying the agreement will help supplement the tribe's police force and help with responding to emergency situations.
Hopi lawmakers have backed the tribe's pursuit of mutual aid agreements with other neighboring police agencies.
The signing took place at the Old Senate Chamber at the State Capitol Museum in Phoenix. Special speakers included Nuvangyaoma and AZDPS Tribal Liaison Captain Paul Etnire.
The Hopi Tribe occupies parts of Coconino and Navajo counties and covers a land mass larger than the state of Delaware.
The tribe is completely surrounded by the much-larger Navajo Nation. It took over the police force from the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs in July 2019 but has struggled to get up to full staffing levels.
The agreement goes into effect immediately.
The Navajo-Hopi Observer contributed to this report