Navajo Nation Public Safety Director Wins National Award

Jesse Delmer receives National Native American Law Enforcement Association’s 2017 Public Safety Director of the Year award.

Published November 26. 2017

WINDOW ROCK – Jesse Delmar, director of the Navajo Nation’s Division of Public Safety, was awarded the National Native American Law Enforcement Association’s 2017 Public Safety Director of the Year.

“It was surprising to me they came to me with this recognition,” said Delmar. “I was honored and I wasn’t expecting it. It’s a good thing for the Navajo Nation and Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety.”

The award is presented annually to a public safety director who has made positive strides in his or her community. NNALEA President Tom Woolworth said Delmar’s selection for the award was unanimous on behalf of the NNALEA Executive Board. “We have known Delmar for many years, throughout his many capacities in law enforcement,” stated Woolworth. “This award is well deserved as exemplified by his leadership and contribution to law enforcement in Indian Country.”

Delmar’s current position as the director of public safety started in 2015. Before then, he was the police chief for the Ft. McDowell Tribe, and worked in other areas of law enforcement. He also served as vice chair for the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Indian Section.

When he returned to the Navajo Nation to begin his director’s position, he said he knew the Nation was behind when it came to technology and although the current setup gets the job done, it’s still a hindrance. “We are really way behind on technology. What we lack is technology,” said Delmar. “We need a good software. We need what is known as a CAD/RMS system. I think if we had this it would give us a boost.”

The E-911 and Amber Alert are systems that Delmar said his previous precinct already had but on the Navajo Nation they have been in the planning stage for many years now. “I think we can do a lot more,” said Delmar. “We have a lot of a potential to be doing more.” Navajo Nation Chief of Police Phillip Francisco, who took the position in July 2016 after years of the position being vacant and occupied by acting chiefs, commended Delmar on his recent award. “He’s a good asset to the Navajo Nation,” said Francisco. “All the work and connections and the things he does is an asset to us, and I’m very proud to be his employee.”

When coming back to work for the Navajo Nation, Delmar made strides to improve the conditions in the department such as hiring a chief and getting higher pay for officers. With the help of Council delegates and the president’s office, the initiatives succeeded. As of now they are working on improving police benefits. “I enjoy working with the staff, the president’s office and the Navajo Nation Council,” said Delmar. “But I know we can do a lot more. There’s a lot more to get done.”

He said right now what is needed, other than new software, is more police officers. He said rural communities on the Navajo Nation are requesting more officer presence and the police are working hard to recruit. When he travelled to Inscription House, Arizona, and heard community members express their worries about bootleggers, drug dealers and drunk drivers, he said he realized more officers are imperative. “They are demanding they get police services there,” said Delmar. “That is the biggest mission out there, to improve the services. Navajo Nation employment pool is huge. You see the signs out there saying ‘We need jobs!’ There are jobs! You’re just not applying for it!”

There are 13 months left in the current administration and after that Delmar’s future as the director is uncertain. But he believes his team has given the person who will take his spot a good start at making some much-needed changes. “The momentum should be kept intact,” said Delmar. “There was no one who was ever really dealing with the social problems, especially crime, that we have before this administration. For so long we learned to live with crime … and we shouldn’t tolerate it as a people.”

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in the Navajo Times. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

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