I want to express my deepest appreciation to the people throughout the Williams community for your patience and support during the recent law enforcement response to an armed person barricaded in his vehicle.
Because law enforcement had information that the barricaded person carried a weapon and had threatened and held a man against his will, we took several measures to ensure life safety of the public. These included setting up barricades, locking down the nearby school, closing nearby businesses, and moving people out of the area. While these measures unfortunately interrupted daily routines and restricted your ability to freely move in the area, your cooperation was key to our ability to respond and contain the situation as safely as possible. Thank you for your cooperation.
I also want to recognize and thank the other public safety agencies that assisted during this incident. Appreciation goes to Williams Police Department, Arizona Department of Public Safety, Flagstaff Police Department, US Forest Service Law Enforcement, ATF, and LifeLine for their assistance. These and other northern Arizona public safety agencies have a long history of working well together and coordinating responses with the best interest of our communities and public at the forefront.
It is important to recognize that our communities are not immune to the public safety trends that are being experienced across the nation. Many of the events are coupled with other issues seen nationwide, including mental illness, suicidal threats and substance abuse. There is an additional potential threat to bystanders when a disturbance involves a person known to have a weapon or to have previously threatened others with a weapon.
Each situation is unique and there is not a one-size fits all response. We have been training our staff and working with other local, state and federal agencies in a variety of scenarios including response to situations in which a person is in a substance abuse or mental health crisis, as well as active shooter threats. We also provide classes and presentations to the public on a variety of safety topics. I encourage you to attend one of our situational awareness classes.
I sincerely apologize for the inconveniences placed upon each of you and your community during the recent event. Thank you for your understanding of our need to take steps to protect the public, the responders and the person with whom we were attempting to negotiate. I understand that you may have questions or concerns about this or other events. Please feel free to contact my office with your questions or feedback.
Thank you for the honor to serve you and your community.
Coconino County Sheriff