Colorado City now patrolled by county sheriff's office

July 12, 2012

The sheriff of Mohave County in northwest Arizona has begun patrolling the town of Colorado City on a regular basis. That action comes after a federal lawsuit last month alleging civil rights violations by police in Colorado City. Dave Becker from KNPR reports.

DAVE BECKER: The majority of residents in Colorado City are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  The Justice Department's lawsuit accuses local police of systematically denying service to non-FLDS members. The suit says those decisions were made by the church's imprisoned leader, Warren Jeffs. Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheahan describes some of the allegations.

TOM SHEAHAN: They might receive a citation for a traffic violation where someone in the church does not receive one.  Other issues regarding people being evicted from their homes, families broken off, and the marshalls more or less stand by and let the church elders do whatever they want to, and they are no more than an arm of the church.

BECKER: Sheahan says his department's presence in Colorado City will be a long-range effort, and that significant changes in the town's culture are not likely right away - though he also said his deputies would help any residents who want to leave Colorado City, but have been unable to do so to this point.

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