Farmington officer selected as Navajo Nation police chief

Posted at 10:40 AM, Jul 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-06 13:40:27-04

A police officer in Farmington, New Mexico, has been chosen as the Navajo Nation's police chief, following a lengthy hiring process that was broadened in January.

The tribe Wednesday announced the selection of 40-year-old Phillip Francisco, now a Farmington Police Department patrol and training officer.

The tribe's last police chief, Jim Benally, stepped down in 2008 amid political turmoil within the police department. Various officers have overseen the department temporarily since.

Benally's career of nearly 18 years in New Mexico law enforcement also includes stints with the Aztec Police Department and the San Juan County Sheriff's Office.

The tribe initially limited the position to its members, but a tribal spokesman in January said the restriction was being lifted because it was a struggle to find qualified applicants.