Polygamy: Arizona county plans full-time deputy at state line

Officer would be based in Colorado City, Ariz. - a community of FLDS members

The Salt Lake Tribune/October 6, 2007

Mohave County, Ariz., plans to put a full-time deputy on duty in a polygamous community at the state line.

The deputy will be based in Colorado City, Ariz., and will work out of a multi-use facility near Mohave Community College, which currently houses a special investigator and several social service workers.

Colorado City and the adjoining city of Hildale, Utah, are home to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a polygamous sect led by Warren S. Jeffs.

The twin towns' five-member police force has been under fire for several years. On Sept. 19, Arizona regulators revoked licenses of two peace officers who wrote to Jeffs while he was a fugitive and refused to answer investigators' questions on other matters. Utah regulators also are reviewing the officers' status.

"With the situation occurring in Colorado City, it seems twice a year someone is getting decertified," said Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheahan. "They have a need there for law enforcement people can trust."

While Mohave County deputies have occasionally helped provide law enforcement in the area, this will make the presence "more consistent," he said.

The new deputy also will patrol such areas as Centennial Park, Moccasin, Cane Beds, Beaver Dam and Littlefield, Sheahan said.

The Washington County Sheriff's Office has had a full-time deputy assigned to Hildale for about two years.

No deputies were interested in transferring to the new post, so Mohave County is now looking to hire someone from outside the department.

"We're hoping for someone with previous law enforcement experience rather than someone we have to put through the academy and train, which could take up to a year," Sheahan said.

Some residents of the area are hailing the decision by the Mohave County Board of Supervisors to fund the new position.

"We do need some law enforcement out there," said Marlyne Hammon, a resident of Centennial Park, a fundamentalist community several miles south of Colorado City.

Hammon said Centennial Park has had problems with vandalism and teens being a nuisance, but no one is available to respond to such complaints.

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