The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled last Tuesday that state law enforcement officers can pursue and question suspects of a crime onto reservation lands
The state Supreme Court reaffirmed the 2005 DWI conviction of David Harrison, a citizen of the Navajo Nation who was stopped and questioned by a San Juan County Sheriff’s deputy on reservation land. The deputy let the suspect leave the scene on foot, but used information from the sobriety test to get an arrest warrant in Farmington.
On the reservation, Farmington police and the Sheriff’s Office only have jurisdiction over Anglos.
Farmington police will travel onto the reservation and investigate crimes, though they wait for Navajo Nation Police to make arrests if the suspect is American Indian, McPheeters said.
Sheriff’s deputies typically won’t stop at the border when pursuing a suspect, Sheriff’s Office Lt. Shane Utley said.
The 12 New Mexico State Police officers in San Juan County are cross-commissioned and have jurisdiction over American Indians on the reservation, State Police Sgt. Ron Foreman said.
The Navajo Nation Police Department acting chief said Bobby Etsitty said reservation police are working with law enforcement officers to cross-commission more officers in all counties that surround the Nation.