‘The Emma Knock’

Retiring policewoman reflects on long, harrowing career

Submitted | Maureen Curley Attending Phoenix Police Officer Emma Nez’ retirement festivities were, left to right: Brad Garst, Officer Ken Harbaugh, Joey Nez (Emma’s son), Emma Nez, Al Nez (Emma’s husband), Arizona State Rep. Jennifer Benally (D-LD7), Hopi Tribal Chairman Herman Honanie, Sgt. Steve Ong, American Indian Chamber President Loren Tapahe.

Submitted | Maureen Curley
Attending Phoenix Police Officer Emma Nez’ retirement festivities were, left to right: Brad Garst, Officer Ken Harbaugh, Joey Nez (Emma’s son), Emma Nez, Al Nez (Emma’s husband), Arizona State Rep. Jennifer Benally (D-LD7), Hopi Tribal Chairman Herman Honanie, Sgt. Steve Ong, American Indian Chamber President Loren Tapahe.

By Stan Bindell
Special to the Times

PHOENIX

The rapist was in the house.

The goal of the Phoenix Police Department was to get him out of the house. If they stormed the house he might harm the victim more or there might be a shootout.

So here comes Emma Nez. Not your typical Phoenix police officer. When the Hopi from Keams Canyon joined the Phoenix Police 31 years ago, she was the only woman. She remains one of the few Native Americans on the force. Getting bad guys out of houses was her specialty.

In this case, she was not dressed in her police uniform and she told the rapist that her car hit his car. She said that often works because guys love their cars so much. The rapist peeked out the screen door and said he couldn’t see where she hit his car.

She said she hit the back of the car, where he couldn’t see. So he came out to the car. They were looking at the back of the car and he said he couldn’t see any damage. She told him it was under the car. He bent down on his knees to look and that’s when the other Phoenix Police officers grabbed him.

Nez became so well known for getting felons out of their houses that her fellow officers called it “The Emma Knock.”

It was these types of adventures that kept Nez on her toes and also brought respect from her fellow officers. It ended June 30 when she retired after 31 years on the force.
More than 100 police and dignitaries came to the two-hour ceremony.


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Categories: People