By Stacy Thacker, University of Montana
Navajo Cops are back and they aren't messing around in this week's episode. The first call takes viewers to Fort Defiance, Ariz., where Officer Toddy attends to a man that claims somebody tried to stab him. Cops arrive to find the man intoxicated and as they search the house they find another man in hiding. The house has a reputation that involves drugs and apparently the guy in hiding realizes this because cops find him with weapons. Might as well be stealth and protected.
Fourteen miles outside of Fort Defiance Officers Morgan is called to an accident that involves a totaled vehicle and a dead cow. Wait, make that one dead cow and one injured. The passengers in the vehicle walk away from the accident but the injured cow doesn't have long to live. Officer Morgan is forced to shoot the cow at point-blank range due to a broken leg. Not expecting to see the shooting I screamed in surprise but was also very impressed with Officers Morgan's ability to take down the cow. Insert me in the situation and you get a cow with a band aid that would eventually suffer due to my lack of courage.
The open range for livestock has been an increasing problem as animals roam the roads making it dangerous for drivers. Thank goodness only the cows were harmed.
In Tuba City, Ariz., we learn that Officer Champagne is a fluent Navajo speaker. Hailing from New Orleans he married a Navajo woman, had kids and has been on the reservation long enough to learn the language and fall in love with the people. While he and his wife are divorced his love for the Navajo Nation and urge to keep his community safe makes his job as a Navajo Cop special. After learning this my excuse that Navajo is a hard language to learn is not a valid argument anymore. While Champagne is kicked in an unfortunate region, pain only known to the male species, while arresting a woman he finds the situation funny as he tells the cameras that "Its okay. I'll live." I believe a good sense of humor is required for this job because as we learn later in the episode there are some strange things happening on the reservation with no explanations and sometimes you have to laugh it off.
I've made it this far into the series without hearing my hometown come up. While I've celebrated this at the end of every episode I was biting my nails as they showed Officer Hevel heading to a call coming from none other than Navajo, N.M. Oh no!
If I thought that was bad it only got worse. Officer Hevel ends up in So Sila N.M. where I see a relative come on the screen talking about dogs being shot. Wait, what?! Yes. From there on everything seemed like a blur as the cops drove onto the land of my great-gandmother where houses and a sheep corral materialize.
I texted family members and even called my grandparents to make sure they were tuned in, while I wouldn't call this family celebrity it is something else when you know the people on the screen.
After the shock of seeing a cow shot dead and the uncomfortable reality that I knew a few suspects, I was relieved to see Officer Holgate make an appearance. While he assisted Officer Lilly on a traffic stop the cops found a strange bottle of Gatorade and upon smelling it they realize it's urine! Whoa! This really was a strange episode that was only about to get a whole lot weirder.
Back in Tuba City Officer Dan is called to the scene of an axe attack…at least that was part of it. The investigation takes a turn with leads in three different areas. However upon speaking to an eye witness Officer Dan is able to somewhat piece together a chain of events. From the statements she gathered, a female fell out of the truck after it did a 180 degree turn, she was then run over and afterwards thrown into the back of the truck by her friends. If they can be called friends. Which explains the blood in the truck bed. How the axe fits into all of this I'm not sure, I don't even think the cops know. An axe was used to bang up the vehicle and a man was injured with it but that's all I could gather.
"This is one of the crazy ones where you don't know what's going on," Officer Dan said.
Officer Toddy isn't done after the drug house bust, his night gets even more life threatening after a drunk driving accident leaves the suspect in a hot zone of live power lines that have been knocked to the ground upon impact of his truck into one of the poles. While passengers from the other vehicle involved are fine, people are still at risk of electric shock. With an okay to approach the vehicle officers remove the suspect and hall him off to jail. Drinking and driving is an issue on Indian Country that seems to never get better, no matter how many accidents or how many warnings. It’s an ever-growing trend.
The night ends with an elderly man who is accused of pinning a young girl to a metal pole with his tractor. While the girl is fine he feels that she stole something from him and for the man the tractor was his force to reclaim his property. I'm not sure how fast his tractor was to not be fast enough to get out of being pinned but either way that was too extreme for a miscommunication of property ownership. Later in Tuba City a drunken man places a 333-day death curse on the camera man, which makes for another strange incident.
There is one episode left and I can't wait to see what's going to happen next. We need you camera man, ignore the 333 day threat, better yet let me just reverse it right now. Tuba City, this is why nobody comes to visit.
Stacy Thacker (Navajo) is from Navajo, N.M.