Law enforcement in Colorado City is handled by two entities, the local Marshal’s Office and the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO).
In 2012, Attorney General Tom Horne secured $420,000 for Mohave County to be directed to the MCSO so that the Sheriff could bolster Deputy patrols in the Colorado City area.
The reason is simple: the Marshal’s office is effectively under the control of the dominant church in Colorado City, the Fundamentalist LDS church (FLDS). Added MCSO patrols ensure that credible and independent law enforcement is available in Colorado City.
The effectiveness of these added patrols was dramatically proven in early 2013 when 26 year-old Colorado City resident Ruby Jessop, who was compelled into marriage at the age of 14 by FLDS leader Warren Jeffs, and held against her will for more than 10 years, was granted temporary custody of her six children and left the community.
Marshal’s officers actively attempted to thwart the service of the court orders granting Ms. Jessop custody of her children, but the legal orders were finally carried out because MCSO deputies were there to ensure that justice was served.
As Attorney General Horne said at the time, “It is unacceptable that anyone would be married against her will and forced to live in a community in which she feels unsafe. Ruby Jessop was forced into marriage by FLDS leader Warren Jeffs who compelled her to marry her second-cousin Haven Barlow in 2001. Her exact whereabouts were unknown for years until very recently when she was able to escape the town. Because of the $420,000 I made available from this office to the Mohave County Board of Supervisors, and which the Board authorized for Sheriff Tom Sheahan, more Deputies are now working in Colorado City. Those Deputies were instrumental in making sure that Ruby and her young children could safely leave.”
The Attorney General’s Office has held stakeholder meetings to discuss, among other things, the overwhelming problems that non-FLDS residents of Colorado City suffer due to the unequal enforcement of the laws by the Marshal’s office depending on people’s religion. The Marshal’s office follows the direction of FLDS leader Warren Jeffs rather than the law to which they should owe their allegiance.
The Arizona House Government Committee has heard detailed testimony that the seven members of the Marshal’s office:
- Were loyal to Warren Jeffs rather than the law,
- If any were not loyal to Jeffs, he would lose his job, wives and children,
- That when girls try to escape from their living situations (effectively living in a harem), Marshal’s officers catch them and drag them back, so that they are prisoners,
- That Marshal’s officers have participated in expelling about 1,000 young men to other cities or highways (to hitchhike) so that older men can dominate the girls with less competition and,
- That it is useless to go after the police officers one at a time because they are simply replaced by other FLDS officers loyal to Jeffs.
One of Attorney General Horne’s priorities is to make sure the funds to bolster the MCSO patrols are replenished. In addition, the Attorney General’s Office supports legislation addressing the concerns raised by the testimony given regarding the Marshal’s office.
The Attorney General is urging your support. Please contact your state legislators and ask that funds be made available for continued Mohave County Sheriff’s Office patrols. You can find out who your legislators are using this website: http://azleg.gov/alisStaticPages/HowToContactMember.asp