- Life's returning to normal for veteran Shiprock Police Sgt. Frank
Bradley III, who spent the entire month of February on patrol at the
Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
Bradley ended up being a good-will ambassador
to flocks of tourists at the Navajo Nation's 'Discover Navajo' pavilion
who had questions about the Navajo people. At the same time he kept
an eye out for any potential terrorist threats.
His SWAT gear sat nearby in his police
unit just in case it was needed.
Bradley, an officer since 1985, spent
Friday deskbound at the Shiprock station. He spoke about being in
Salt Lake City, with fellow officers Vera Nelson and Kyle Atcitty.
There were six other Navajo police officers
and six Navajo Nation Rangers also on duty at the pavilion. The
pavilion itself was guarded by the officers and rangers on foot
patrol 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Inside the pavilion was a Navajo star
constellation, a full-sized hogan and sweat lodge, as well as other
displays and information.
"We were under the tactical control
of the public safety command if a major event had occurred,"
All nine of the police officers are trained
Strategic Reaction Team members, who have the motto "Do what
has to be done." Four of the Rangers were also trained.
The team does everything a SWAT does,
utilizing camouflage techniques and an array of weaponry. They didn't
attend any of the events.
Bradley said despite the terrorist threat
due to Sept. 11, he felt safe.
"I'm a police officer and have the
ability to defend myself and have the equipment, it maybe a better
question for a civilian to answer," he said.
Aside from handling a few intoxicated
visitors, there were no incidents - except for one, he added. A
man of Middle Eastern descent told parking lot attendants across
the street from Gateway Mall near the pavilion to "radio your
supervisors, Bin Ladin is here ... you stupid Americans, I'm not
He then drove away.
All Bradley could do was report what had
"I took the information and called
the intelligence team. Anything related to terrorism, that's as
close as we got to that."
About getting to provide security for
the Navajo Nation at the Olympics, Bradley said he was pretty excited.
"It was a privilege to represent
the Navajo Nation and to put our best foot forward. It was the very
first time the Navajo Nation advertised (using a pavilion) ... on
who the Navajo are, where we are and what we are," he said.
Bradley said he would like to see the
pavilion on display now within the Navajo Nation.
During the Olympics, a lot of questions
were from tourists from back east who didn't even know in some cases
there was a Navajo tribe, Bradley said.
"They think back east Indians live
in teepees, riding horses across the plains. You get that, due to
John Wayne movies and 'Dances with Wolves.'"
Those things are not Navajo, Bradley told
them, although Navajos often participate in Pow Wows that emphasize
the culture of the Plains Indians, with elaborate head bonnets.
He explained the differences between the
tribes in terms they could relate to.
"The Germans are different from the
French, the French are different from the Italians. We (also) have
our own language and culture."
Being able to work at the Olympics and
the Navajo pavilion "was a once in a lifetime experience,"
he said. "It put us on the map - the Navajo Nation obviously,
but also the Navajo Police. Hopefully they'll take the pavilion
to the 2004 summer games in Athens. Maybe we'll get to go there."
He added that after seeing the pavilion
"a lot of people want to see the real Navajo. They want to
visit the Navajo Nation."