Ak-Chin opens ‘model’ justice center


The Ak-Chin Indian Community opened its new Ak-Chin Multi-purpose Justice Complex today.

The 56,000 square-foot complex, which broke ground in December 2012, is home to the Community’s police department, public defender’s office, prosecutor’s office, detention and probation center and courts.

It is located on Farrell Road approximately one-half mile west of State Route 347.

“We had a unified vision to construct this building in a visionary manner for 15 to 20 years down the road,” Sergeant Paul Martin, Ak-Chin Police Department’s jail administrator, said. “Our chairman and committee board and the local community have been together with this during the whole process and it’s been a really positive experience for everyone involved.”

“Very few communities have many of the aspects that we have under the same roof. That was essential to us,” Martin said.

A four-member core committee – Tribal Chairman Louis Manuel, Jr., Police Chief Manuel Garcia, Chief Judge Brian Burke and Karen Fierro, contracts and grants manager – planned the project.

Martin said the community center will offer detainees the opportunity to take GED or college courses online and receive CPR or food handling certification.

“This building allows us to build more programs and have enough space to adequately serve the community’s needs,” Burke said, describing his new courthouse.

Fierro said the state-of-the-art justice center has been a long process. Committees were formed in 1997 and 2004 and subsequently disbanded. A grant from the Ak-Chin Indian Community revived the project in 2008 and helped ensure its completion.