Criminal Enforcement Department
The Criminal Enforcement Department (CED) is charged with enforcing the Navajo Nation Environmental Laws and to investigate violations that pose a threat to human health & the environment. The CED conducts complex investigations to serious environmental crimes on those who disregard the tribal and/or federal laws.
EPA officers are sworn law enforcement officers certified with the State of Arizona and commissioned with the Navajo Police Department and have full authority to conduct investigations, carry firearms and to make arrests.
Currently there are four (4) EPA officers serving the Navajo Nation assigned to the Western Agency, Northern & Eastern Agency, Fort Defiance Agency & Newlands area and one Sergeant/Dept. Manager. Although each officer is assigned to a different agency, CED officers are sometimes required to conduct investigations reservation wide.
CED officers have successfully completed the Criminal Investigator training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and oftentimes assist the USEPA Criminal Investigation Division with federal investigations.
WHAT IS CRIMINAL ENFORCEMENT? Criminal enforcement is focused on investigations that involve negligent, knowingly & willful actions. Generally speaking, violations that are committed deliberately not accidents or mistakes. When a violator commits an unlawful act and knows it being prohibited by law, the act is said to be “willful.” Frequently, these investigations expose more violations. We encourage you to report any suspected crime, whether you think it’s a crime or not.
EXAMPLES OF INVESTIGATIONS:
ILLEGAL DUMPING: One of the biggest problems on the Navajo reservation is illegal dumping. Whether you’re in a tourist area or near your own home, there is always a dumpsite. CED officers have investigated hundreds of dumpsites since the CED became a department within the Navajo EPA. There are small sites… and there are large sites.
TAMPERING: The most equipment that is tampered with is the drinking water system. Water tanks, pump stations, electrical supply, etc… The Navajo EPA protects the drinking water by inspections, sampling and supervision. However, the drinking water system is often vandalized. Tampering with a drinking water system is a crime. The CED has investigated drinking water systems usually systems such as booster stations, pump wells & water tanks. Vandalizism to these systems often occur in remote areas. These stations are needed to provide water pressure to the communities. Please be aware and report any unusual activity near a drinking water system in your area.
COMPANIES: There are several outside companies that operate within the Navajo reservation. These companies come onto the reservation to conduct demolition, oil drillings, construction, transportation, etc… Unfortunately, some companies like to take “shortcuts” to save money. For example: A company doing demolition sometimes ask local residents to take construction debris for erosion control. Therefore, the company saves money by not taking the debris to a permitted facility. Companies are required to transport all construction debris to a permitted landfill.
OPEN BURNING: Trash burning is a nuisance to your neighbors, especially neighbors that have health problems. The CED responds to trash burning due to the dangerous chemicals burned from plastic or rubber causing air emissions that is considered a hazard to human health. Currently the Navajo EPA Air Quality Program (AQP) is working on a provision that would allow residents to burn household trash upon obtaining a permit from the AQP. Click on the AQP link for further information.
REMEDIATION: The CED has been successful in enforcing the Solid Waste Act to violators that conduct open dumping across the reservation. The responsible party is given a “Notice of Violation” regarding their unlawful act and within two to three days the site is remediated or “cleaned up.” Several small sites have been remediated along with some large sites.
REPORTING A POSSIBLE CRIME: Using the link, fill out the form and email it or print it and drop it off at one of our Navajo EPA offices. Give as much information as possible so CED officers or the appropriate NNEPA personnel will have much needed information to conduct their investigation. Upon giving your name and phone number, you may request to remain anonymous and NNEPA will not give out your information during their investigation.