Alcoholics in parking lot is top concern

Alcoholics in parking lot is top concern


When it comes to the apparent revolving door for alcoholics who end up at the Chinle jail, the police officers’ hands are tied, Navajo Nation Police told an attendee at one of the first in a series of police “listening sessions” held in Chinle last weekend.

Francis Teller had asked what the police were going to do about drunk people staggering through the parking lot at the local shopping center.

“It’s a real sickening sight,” Teller said. “What happened to the charge of disorderly conduct? Is it still a Navajo Nation law? “Are the judges not doing their jobs?” Teller asked.

“Our jail here in Chinle looks great and magnificent, but it’s just a motel. The drunks are let out at 7 a.m. Then they’re back at Basha’s again begging for money. That’s how things are here. How come this problem is not being worked on?”

Capt. Ron Silversmith responded to Teller’s question and said a consent decree was created from the 1992 Silver v. Pahe case that ordered the Department of Corrections to change how it operated and treated inmates. The decree, he said, protects the civil rights of everyone, including intoxicated people.

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