Navajo Nation Police: “Gestapo tactics”

Navajo Nation John Billison tlaks to his attorney, Henry Howe, outside the Labor Commission hearing room in Window Rock, Ariz., on Sept. 24, 2013. Photo by Marley Shebala

Navajo Nation John Billison tlaks to his attorney, Henry Howe, outside the Labor Commission hearing room in Window Rock, Ariz., on Sept. 24, 2013. Photo by Marley Shebala

Greetings Relatives/Frens,
I’m back here at the Office of Navajo Relations in Window Rock, Ariz., where the hearing involving a 100-page complaint filed by former and current Navajo Nation police officers/commanders against Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety Division Director John Billison will be reconvenng at 9 a.m.

The Navajo Nation Labor Commission – Chairperson Casey Watchman and Commissioners Ben Smith and Jerry Bodie – allowed the parties to time to negotiate a settlement of the complaint and in a few minutes, it’s expected that the settlement will be presented.

The complaint against Billison, which I posted a link to couple of days ago, alleges that Billison used a management style that the complaintants described as “Gestapo tactics”.

I wrote numerous stories about Billison from the time that Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly politcally appointed him as DPS director. My first story, which I will post later, involved a domestic violence protection order that an Arizona State county court issued against Billison for violently attacking the young mother of his child. According to court records, the physical and verbal attacks occured during the time the young woman was pregnant and after she gave birth. The last incident that forced the young woman to file for a protection order involved a drunk Billison pouring beer on her and the baby as they slept.

Following those stories, I wrote about domestic violence protection orders also being filed against some of Billison’s key commenders, including criminal investigators and the director of Internal Affairs for the DPS. Those domestic violence protection orders were provided to me anonymously after I wrote the stories about Billison’s DV protection order.

I’m not sure how many of my readers understand the very unique circumstances involving doemstic violence among police officers and what it takes for the wife or girlfriend of a police officer to even file for a protection order against her perpetrator, who is a police officer, a legally licenses gun-toting individual who is trained to intimidate and who is part of a close knit para-military organization.

I know some of these officers and commanders here today and what they did is equal to what the young woman and other woman did when they filed for domestic violence protection orders. And yes, Billison does still carry his service weapon.

One of the commanders here investigated an incident involving Billison allegedly pulling his service revolver on a fellow officer. But like many of the wives and girlfriends of police officers, not just here on the Navajo Reservation but across the U.S., the victim recanted.

I often hear the Navajo Nation Council’s Law & Order Committee ask why trained tribal officers and comamanders leave the DPS. They think it’s because other law enforcement agencies offer higher wages. That’s only part of why they leave. Another reason for why they leave is the “Gestapo tactics” of Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety Director John Billison. It is been under his administration that the number of police officers has dropped from about 300 to 200 law enforcement personnel that must watch over a land base that is about 30,000 square miles, reaches into three states, has more unpaved roads than paved roads, lacks cell services in most areas, lakcs signage on most of the reservation and where doemstic violence calls and crime are on the rise.

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