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Mohave County deputies beefing up staff in polygamous border town

KINGMAN, Ariz. – Sheriff Tom Sheahan is going to occupy Colorado City after Mohave County supervisors approved a grant Monday that will allow him to put more deputies on patrol in the northern Arizona community that he and others suspect is served by a corrupt town marshal’s office.

Sheahan said he will increase his department’s presence this week in the northern Arizona border community where it is alleged the police force bears greater allegiance to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and its dictates than it does the law.

A frustrated Attorney General Tom Horne allocated the $420,000 grant to the county after the Arizona Legislature defeated legislation that contained provisions for a Mohave County Sheriff’s Office takeover of law enforcement in the community, which is heavily influenced by the group and its polygamous culture.

Sheahan said that deputies have patrolled Colorado City over the years but that the grant will allow him to beef up their presence.

The deployment comes on the heels of a federal lawsuit filed in June that alleges the towns of Colorado City and neighboring Hildale in Utah and their officials violate civil rights by providing disparate services and treatment to citizens, depending on their status as members or nonmembers of the FLDS.

Sheahan said the lawsuit, including allegations of misconduct by the town marshal’s office, supports the need for a law enforcement option for the residents of the border towns.

“This will give people there the opportunity to call a fair, unbiased law enforcement office for service, something they’ve not been able to do before,” Sheahan said.

He said his deputies will distribute business cards, phone stickers and engage in other undisclosed activity to inform residents that they can call the Sheriff’s Office rather than the town marshal’s office if they wish.

Sheahan said he realizes his deputies are not going to receive a warm welcome but he doesn’t anticipate problems or interference from town marshals.

“Should we have interference, we’ll deal with it,” he said.

Sheahan said the grant will help his department establish itself in the community. He said he hopes action by the state Legislature next year will see the town marshal’s office dissolved in favor of law enforcement service provided by his office.

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