Events designed to improve service, solicit input

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FARMINGTON — In an effort to improve service and to hear from the public, the Navajo Police Department has been conducting listening sessions in communities on tribal land this month.

Navajo police spokeswoman Christina Tsosie said the sessions were arranged as part of the mission initiated by Chief Phillip Francisco to improve the department and to provide the public the opportunity to participate in determining the new direction.

The department has police districts in Shiprock and Crownpoint, and in Chinle, Dilkon, Kayenta, Tuba City and Window Rock in Arizona.

The first set of listening sessions was held Dec. 1 in Church Rock and in Chinle.

During the discussion in Chinle, which was live streamed on the department's Facebook page, Francisco explained he is pushing the department to become responsive, reliable and trustworthy.

"I want to gain your trust, and I think we need to gain that and work very hard at being trustworthy," he said at the session.

Francisco, along with chief prosecutor Gertrude Lee and the police district command staff, responded to audience questions about drunken driving, bootlegging, illegal dumping and the slow processing time related to obtaining police reports.

The next listening session will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Shiprock Chapter house in Shiprock.

Tsosie said up to an hour will be devoted at each session for public comments, and questions can be submitted on Facebook during the live stream.

"NPD will utilize the comments gathered as a baseline assessment of where the major concerns are and how we can improve," Tsosie said. "Chief Francisco is working to get an overall department assessment completed and the major concerns from the public will be used as part of those improvements."

She added the department is setting up an online form for comments and complaints on its new website, and there are plans to schedule additional listening sessions next year.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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