Navajo Nation Honors First Woman Chief of Police

Erin Toadlena-Pablo
L-R: Council Delegate Dr. Andy Nez; Gallup Mayor Louis Bonaguidi; Gallup Police Chief Erin Toadlena-Pablo; Council Delegate Steven Arviso; and Speaker Crystalyne Curley at the swearing-in ceremony.

GALLUP, NM – Navajo Nation Council Speaker Crystalyne Curley and Council Delegates Dr. Andy Nez and Steven Arviso joined Erin Toadlena-Pablo, a member of the Navajo Nation from Sawmill, AZ, as she became the first woman to be sworn in to serve as the Chief of Police for the city of Gallup, NM. Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren, Vice President Richelle Montoya, and Gallup Mayor Louis Bonaguidi were also in attendance to offer their support and recognition. 

“On behalf of the 25th Navajo Nation Council, it is an honor to recognize our Diné sister for her remarkable and historical achievement,” said Speaker Curley, who also presented a Navajo rug to the new Police Chief. “Police Chief Toadlena-Pablo is breaking down barriers and setting a great example for all of our people across the Navajo Nation. I congratulate her, her family, and her fellow officers and we pray for her continued protection and success.”

Gallup Municipal Court Judge Janell Griego administered the oath of office to Police Chief Toadlena-Pablo, who was joined by her husband, children, and parents. Following the swearing-in, Police Chief Toadlena-Pablo spoke about her late grandmother and reflected on the teachings that inspired her to pursue her goals. She wore her late grandmother’s scarf on her waist side as she took the oath and spoke about the need to “humanize the badge” in order to address the root causes of crime and provide resources and support to help people. 

“I first want to say, Sawmill Proud, Sawmill Strong,” said Delegate Nez. “Today, we witnessed history. Seeing Chief Toadlena-Pablo proudly accept this next step in front of family, friends, and local, state, and federal leaders was profound. My LDA, Amber and I, extend our sincerest gratitude and congratulations to Chief and her family, and we certainly look forward to the greater protection and safety of all people in and around the Gallup community, including potential opportunities to create further support between agents. We are just excited and look forward to what will become.”

Toadlena-Pablo began working with the Gallup Police Department in 2001 with the patrol and investigations divisions, internal affairs, school resource officer, bike patrol and emergency response before being promoted to Captain. She has served as the acting Police Chief since January. Her daughter, Kiana Toadlena, also sang a Navajo song in honor of her mother. 

Council Delegate Steven Arviso, who serves on the Council’s Law and Order Committee, was also in attendance to congratulate the Police Chief on her new role. The Gallup Police Color Guard posted the colors and Gallup Police Captain Billy Padavich served as the master of ceremonies.