8:15 pm PRESS RELEASE – 17 Navajo Police Department employees test positive for COVID-19
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – As of April 24, the Navajo Police Department has 17 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The total cases thus far include 11 police officers and six civilian personnel, all are currently in quarantine.
The department has been working with both private and local healthcare facilities to prioritize staff testing for all police districts, including the Navajo Police Training Academy. The test results are currently pending with a 2 to 5-day processing time.
Navajo Police Department will not release the names of those who have tested positive.
“We knew there was a high probability that this would occur and we made every decision possible to try and mitigate that probability.” Chief Francisco said. “As a leader, one of the hardest decisions we make is the decision to push forward during times of crisis.”
“As more cases were confirmed, we couldn’t help but be devastated. Our staff and their families are always in our thoughts as they fight everyday to heal themselves. I have nothing but appreciation for our courageous employees and we continue to pray for their speedy recovery.” Chief Francisco added.
On Wednesday, the Office of Chief of Police purchased food items for care packages that were distributed to employees affected by the virus.
“We want them to know that we care for them, we are here for them, and we will get through this together.” Chief Francisco said.
The care packages also included letters of support from the Office of Chief of Police and Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice-President.
“You are the frontline warriors and we will always be appreciative of all your sacrifices. To your families, we pray for them also and we ask God for strength and comfort for you and your loved ones. Please continue to be strong, to think positive, and know that we Diné people are resilient and we will overcome COVID-19 together.” Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez stated in his letter to the employees.
Administrative employees with the Chinle facility have been placed on administrative leave until the decontamination of the building is complete.
On Monday, the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Justice Services delivered two mobile command units to the Navajo Police Department, one of which is currently at the Navajo Police Training Academy and will serve as the police dispatch.
“To ensure we are answering calls for service, our incident command team is working diligently with all police districts to ensure the needs of the communities are met.” Chief Francisco added.
As of April 24, the Navajo Health Command Operations Center confirmed 1,540 positive cases of COVID-19 on the Navajo Nation.
This weekend, the Navajo Police Department will be conducting saturation patrol in all seven police districts in support of the 57-hour weekend curfew. The public is asked to adhere to the public health orders that are currently in effect.
For more information regarding COVID-19 or questions regarding the Navajo Nation Public Health Orders on the Navajo Nation, please visit www.ndoh.navajo-nsn.gov or call the Health Command Operation Center COVID-19 hotline at 928-871-7014.