PAGE – The hairs on the back of Page Police Officer Crystal Thinn’s neck stood up as a 33-year-old man hid behind walls to evade capture inside a Taco Bell. Thinn immediately knew something was going to happen.
“That little red flag just shot up and … after I encountered him, he took off running from me,” said Thinn, handler of K-9 Officer Hasy, a Belgian Malinois. “We ran right through the dining area of Taco Bell (then) we ran right through the desert area.”
Thinn struggled, and she struggled to apprehend the man on July 10.
“Taser, (pepper) spray–– nothing scared him,” Thinn said of the man who was wanted on three felony warrants for aggravated assault, failure to appear, and for resisting arrest. “He had a purpose and it was to win the fight because he knew he had warrants. And he knew that we knew he had warrants. So, his mindset was to win and because of that I struggled.”
As Thinn was running after the man, Jerome Jasper Claw, she noticed another man running alongside her. That man was Bobby J. Nez Jr. from Kaibeto, Arizona.
“Suddenly, I see this courageous man, Mr. Bobby Nez, just run alongside … me and tackled this guy,” Thinn said of Nez. “He tackled this guy and I jumped in. Even then we struggled some more trying to detain this guy.”
As Thinn tried to handcuff him, Claw tried to grab for Thinn’s duty holster, which she says that alone showed he would not give up.
“Because of that, Mr. Nez helped me apprehend this dangerous felon,” Thinn said. “So, the credit for all of this is entirely owed to Mr. Nez, (whose) courageous act of bravery is an example of a good community partnership that we have between ourselves as law enforcement and the community.”
Last Tuesday evening Nez was awarded for his courageous act and for his bravery in a small ceremony at the Page Police Department, where Page Police Chief Frank Balkcom Sr. thanked him for helping one of their own.
“I consider my police employees my family members,” Balkcom said. “Mr. Nez, thank you sir for coming to the aide of one of our family members and (for) having the courage to do the right thing.”
Balkcom continued saying, “It takes a community to police your community. We can’t do it ourselves. We started talking about strategies that we’ve implemented ourselves within our organization. But it takes a community to police our community.”
Nez was awarded two small tokens of appreciation, which include a certificate and a Page Police coffee mug.
“This person that assaulted one of our police officers made two mistakes,” Balkcom added. “(The first one being) that he attempted to attack one of our finest police officers and most importantly, he attempted to attack a Navajo woman. What was he thinking?”
Thinn is a former Navajo police officer in the Tuba City Police District. She comes from a family of law enforcement officers.