WASHINGTON – Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke issued the following statement today which was read during the 26th Annual Indian Country Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Service at the United States Indian Police Academy in Artesia, N.M. The ceremony formally announced the names of three fallen law enforcement officers from the Navajo and Chickasaw Nations as new inscriptions to the Indian Country Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Monument.

“Like the famous and humble actions of the WWII Code Talkers who valiantly stepped out of Indian Country to defend the United States from foreign threats, these three brave officers courageously rose up within Indian Country to protect tribal communities from unexpected dangers.  Today, I pay their families and their memories the utmost respect for their ultimate sacrifices as we permanently add their names to this distinguished memorial.  May this memorial continue to serve as a testament that those who answer the call of duty will never be forgotten.

"In a tradition from my Navy service, I respectfully bid 'fair winds and following seas' to the spirits of these brave men and women.”

The officers recognized at this year’s ceremony brought the total number of names listed on the monument to 114:

• Navajo Nation Police Officer Leander Frank who, on August 30, 2016, was killed in a traffic accident while responding to a disturbance call in the Chinle District of the Navajo Nation Reservation. Office Frank served in the U.S. Marine Corps.
• Chickasaw Nation Lighthorse Police Agent Robert Patrick Flickinger who, on March 7, 2008, was killed in a traffic accident within the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma while serving in an undercover narcotics investigation of an outlaw motorcycle organization. Before joining the force, Agent Flickinger served two years in the U.S. Navy.
• Navajo Nation Chief of Police Hoska “Hoskie” Thompson who, on October 21, 1949, succumbed to freezing temperatures while trying to serve civil papers at a remote canyon area on the Navajo Reservation near the Arizona-New Mexico border.
The event is hosted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Justice Services and is held in conjunction with the International Chiefs of Police’s (ICAP) Indian Country Law Enforcement Section and other law enforcement organizations and agencies, including the National Sheriffs’ Association and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers at the U.S. Indian Police Academy in Artesia.  The formal ceremony consists of full law enforcement honors with flag presentation, 21-gun salute, honor guard, traditional drum song and prayer, officer roll call, and family recognition.  Each year, invited dignitaries provide keynote remarks at the ceremony.

The Indian Country Law Enforcement Officers Memorial was first dedicated on May 7, 1992, at the Indian Police Academy then located in Marana, Ariz.  The academy and memorial were later moved to their present site, where the latter was re-dedicated on May 6, 1993.  The memorial’s design is based upon indigenous design concepts.  Comprised of three granite markers sited within a circular walkway lined with sage, a plant of spiritual significance to many tribes, the memorial includes four planters filled with foliage in colors representing people of all nations.  The planters represent the four directions and are located near the walkway’s entrance.

The earliest inscribed name dates back to 1852.  In addition to those from BIA and tribal law enforcement, officers listed represent numerous law enforcement agencies including the U.S. Border Patrol, the New Mexico State Police, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Customs Bureau, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  A list of the names inscribed on the Indian Country Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial is available at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers’ website.