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Coconino County, AZ – The extended weekend encompassing May 25 – May 28 resulted in a large number of calls stemming from outdoor activity in Northern Arizona. Dry weather, warm temperatures, and fire restrictions also contributed to increased calls for service. Area patrols also included increased efforts on off highway vehicle traffic safety and enforcing fire bans.
Calls for ServiceDuring the holiday weekend, deputies responded to approximately 455 calls for service compared to 350 the previous Friday through Monday, which is approximately a 30% increase. In addition, deputies conducted over 400 forest and community patrols and over 100 traffic stops.
Common types of calls deputies responded to included:
Fire Air PatrolsOver the holiday weekend, Search and Rescue Unit volunteers assisted our Air Patrol pilot by serving as spotters. They spent approximately 5.5 hours on aerial fire patrols and spotted 3 illegal campfires. Law enforcement on the ground responded to the reported locations to follow up on the reports and enforce fire ban regulations.
The aerial team reported that many popular camping areas were heavily populated with campers over the weekend, estimating some 80-90 recreational camping vehicles over 10-12 acres of area in places such as Cinder Lakes. They did not observe any campers in the recently closed forest service areas.
Since the start of the aerial fire patrols on May 17, approximately 14 hours of in flight time has been dedicated to these patrols. Prior to this weekend, no illegal campfires had been observed. However, they had observed several illegal camps set up within the city limits.
Ban Citations IssuedDeputies issued 12 citations for violations of fire ban.
Lake Powell: Our deputies in the Page and Lake Powell areas contacted several boaters over the weekend. During the contacts with boaters, deputies not only checked for impaired driving but also checked to make sure the right safety equipment was onboard and accessible.
Vehicle Collisions: There were several reported off road vehicle collisions.
Traffic / Moving Vehicle Stops: Deputies throughout the county conducted over 100 traffic stops during the height of the weekend, resulting in 29 moving vehicle violation citations (1 boat citation; 8 speeding violations); 11 written warnings, 56 verbal warnings. Of these citations, some were issued to parents of youth riding off highway vehicles without appropriate protective gear (helmets).
Search and Rescue / Overdue Individuals: Sheriff’s Deputies responded to several calls for missing or overdue individuals ranging in age from youth to adults. During the initial response of these types of calls, information is gathered regarding the description of the missing person, circumstances, any medical conditions, and what type of food, water, or other equipment they may have with them. Deputies immediately begin to search the area in attempt to locate the persons. Search and Rescue is advised if further resources are needed. Fortunately, of the calls received this weekend, all were resolved within a few hours and the persons returned safely.
Detention Facility: The Coconino County Detention Facility Flagstaff Facility which receives arrested persons from Coconino Sheriff’s Office, Flagstaff Police Department, Northern Arizona University Police, Williams Police, and the Arizona Department of Public Safety processed approximately 100 bookings from May 25 – May 28, 2018 (23 of these were at the Page Facility).
Booking charge categories included, but were not limited, to the following: 3 aggravated assaults, 8 assaults, 2 DUIs, 2 aggravated DUIs, 5 liquor violations, 7 drug offenses, 6 marijuana offenses, 6 disorderly conducts, 2 felony thefts, 25 failure to appear / comply / warrant / holds, 3 probation / parole violations, 5 court remands, and 2 criminal damage. Bookings also included, but were not limited to misdemeanor charges of: trespass, weapons violations, driving violations, and shoplifting.
The Sheriff’s Office thanks all those individuals and other public safety agencies who assisted with responses during this holiday weekend and in helping to keep our community safe.
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Note: Numbers are best estimates at time of data summary based on field reports from deputies, detention, and dispatch information.