Coconino County Overview and History
Coconino County is the largest county in Arizona and the second largest county in terms of square miles in the United States. It is larger than the nine smallest American states with 18,661 total square miles, 18,619 of which are entirely land. Water comprises the remaining 43 square miles of the county.
The entire population of Coconino County is 134,421 residents. Around 30 percent of the county’s population is Native American. The name “Coconino” actually derives from the language of the Havasupai tribe and its word “Cohonino.”
Coconino County is home to several national and state parks as well as reservations including the Grand Canyon National Park, the Havasupai Nation, parts of the Navajo Nation, the Hualapai Nation, and the Hopi Nation. The county has a relatively young population with the median age being 30. Around 35 percent of the households in the county have children younger than 18 living in them.
A fair portion of the county’s population is also bilingual. Almost 19 percent of county residents speak Navajo while another seven percent speak Spanish.
Flagstaff serves as the county’s seat. Other cities that are located in Coconino County include:
- Happy Jack
Smaller towns found in Coconino County are Fredonia and Tusayan.
The county has two major interstates running through it, Interstates 40 and 17. It is also served by several smaller federal and state highways including U.S. 89 and U.S. 180. State highways going through Coconino County include:
In addition to the number of highways and interstates running through it, Coconino County is also served by several modes of transportation. The county is home to a number of municipal and regional airports like the Grand Canyon National Park Airport in Tusayan and Pulliam Airport in Flagstaff.
Greyhound and Mountain Line bus lines travel through and make stops in Coconino County. Tourists can also arrive in the county via the Grand Canyon Railway.
Tourists coming to Coconino County often stop to visit the sites on the four major Native American reservations here. The Havasupai Nation, for example, generates revenue by welcoming tourists to their reservations’ rivers and waterfalls. This tribe has lived in the Grand Canyon for more than 800 years. It has a population of 730 people. The name Havasupai means “people of the blue-green water.”
In 1882, the American government forced the Havasupai tribe from its land onto a reservation of 518 square feet. The tribe battled the American judicial system until 1975 when it regained more than 185,000 square feet of its land.
The Navajo Nation is another Native American tribe that resides in parts of Coconino County. The Navajo are one of the largest tribes in the country with more than 350,000 members. The territory of the Navajo Nation spans more than 17 million acres in Northern Arizona as well as Southeastern Utah and Northwest New Mexico.
It has its own elected legislature as well as a national judicial system. It also has its own law enforcement agency, social services department, health services, and educational system.
The official name of the Navajo is the Dine, referring to the Long Walk or forced relocation off the tribe’s lands in the 1880s. The tribe is famous for its clans and oral history. Both influence the behavior and culture of the tribe.
The Hualapai Nation is not as large as the Navajo Nation. However, it still has 2300 members and resides entirely in Coconino County.
The name “Hualapai” means “people of the tall pines.” The nation’s territory spans parts of the Grand Canyon and Colorado River. It is headquartered in Peach Springs. The nation has its own school system that teaches classes in both English and in the Hualapai language.
Finally, the Hopi Nation also resides entirely in Coconino County. The Hopi are sometimes referred to as the Pueblo. They were given this name by Spanish explorers because the tribe lived and continues to live in villages. The Spanish word for “village” is pueblo.
This tribe of 19,000 residents earns revenue like the Havasupai Nation by welcoming tourists to its reservation each year. The nation maintains a cultural center where guests can come to learn more about the tribe and the area of Coconino County on which it is located.
The nation also runs several hotels where guests can stay and enjoy activities like swimming and fine dining while in the area. While some Native American tribes in Arizona own and operate casinos to generate revenue, the Hopi have consistently voted against gambling as a source of income.
Coconino County Seat Overview and History
Flagstaff serves as the seat of Coconino County. Founded in 1876, this city of more than 70,000 residents sits in the south-central part of the county. The total population of its entire metro area is around 139,000 residents.
The story behind Flagstaff’s name is not known for its sure. However, most historians agree that it can be traced to a Boston scouting party that stopped in the area to celebrate the Fourth of July. Members of the party created a flag pole from ponderosa pine. This event served as the basis for the city getting its name from the flag pole or flagstaff on which the scouting party flew the American flag that day.
It was during the same time that Flagstaff was officially founded as a mining camp in Coconino County. The town eventually began attracting newcomers not only for the mining opportunities but also for the promise of grazing sheep and cattle in the area. Workers also came to fill jobs in the city’s growing timber industry. It was during the 1880s and the town’s growth that Flagstaff got its first post office and railroad.
With its geological location along the Colorado Plateau, Flagstaff is prized among astronomers for its high altitude. Despite being surrounded by the largest ponderosa pine forest in the U.S., the city is still a prime location for astronomers to come and gaze at the night skies through any of the city’s dozens of telescopes.
In fact, Pluto was discovered by an astronomer using one of the observatory telescopes in Flagstaff. The most famous of observatories in Flagstaff is the Lowell Observatory.
Flagstaff is also surrounded by a number of mountain ranges including Mount Elden and the San Francisco Peaks. It is also close to Humphrey Peak and the Kachina Peaks Wilderness.
Given its close proximity to some of the most scenic mountains in the country, it is little wonder that Flagstaff is a major draw for tourists each year. Millions of people from all over the world come to Flagstaff to visit the Grand Canyon National Park and Oak Creek Canyon. Other tourist spots include the Arizona Snowbowl, Meteor Crater and historic Route 66 which travels through parts of Flagstaff and Coconino County.
While tourism remains one of the most lucrative industries in Flagstaff, the city also generates revenue through other forms of business as well. In the mid-1980s, city leaders gathered to transform the city into a center for finance, government, and shopping.
A new city hall and library was built. The county’s administrative offices also located to downtown Flagstaff. Today, the city is home to national and global businesses like Joy Cones, Nestle Purina Petcare, and a Walgreens distribution center.
The U.S. Naval Observatory and the U.S. Geological Survey also call Flagstaff home. Likewise, Flagstaff is home to Northern Arizona University.
As a university town, Flagstaff has an above average number of residents who completed high school and at least a four-year college degree. Close to 90 percent of Flagstaff residents have a high school diploma. Around 40 percent of city residents have a bachelor’s degree, which is higher than the national average of 24 percent.
Incidentally, the city has a young population with the median age being 27. Close to 33 percent of Flagstaff households report having children younger than 18 living with them. Twelve percent of the city’s population is Native American while 73 percent is white.
With a young population, it is also no surprise that Flagstaff has an active arts and culture scene. The Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra hold numerous performances throughout the year. The Orpheum Theater welcomes dozens of popular bands to the city while Heritage Park is the scene for dozens of free concerts each year.
Likewise, the city has its own opera troupe that hosts light opera and theatrical performances for residents. Finally, the university also puts on plays and concerts for the public during the school year.
Coconino County Courthouse – History and Overview
The county courthouse of Coconino County is located in Flagstaff and is more than 124 years old. It is located at 200 North San Francisco Street at the corner of East Birch Avenue. The building itself was built between 1894 and 1895 by H. Clements and Company from Los Angeles. The architect for the building was J.N. Pierson.
Built in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, the Coconino County courthouse is a two-story red sandstone building. It faces southwest and has a four-story red sandstone tower on its southwest corner. At the base of the tower is the main entrance into the courthouse. The main entrance has two arches that serve as a frame for the courthouse’s recessed doors.
In 2002, Coconino County leaders agreed to build a new judicial center onto the existing courthouse. The judicial center was built on the north side of the courthouse. The architect for the new Coconino County courthouse was Johnson Walzer Associates. The Skidmore Contracting Corporation was the construction company in charge of building the new judicial center.
The judicial center for Coconino County faces west and is a two-story red brick building. It has a recessed porch on its south side on the first floor. The upper windows in the building are vertical while the roof features a flat line. The judicial center building itself is attached to the courthouse on its south side.
The Coconino County courthouse is home to the county’s superior court. The superior court hears cases regarding real property, civil claims of $10,000 or more, and felony prosecutions. It also hears cases involving probate matters and divorces as well as appeals in criminal cases from lower courts.
Further, the Superior Court of Coconino County oversees judicial programs like:
- Alternative Dispute Resolution or ADR
- Conciliation court
- Drug court
- Integrated family court
- Veteran’s court
There are six separate divisions of the Superior Court of Coconino County as well as one juvenile division. All of the divisions are overseen by judges who are elected to their positions.
The website for the superior court has resources that the public is welcome to use to pursue legal cases or answer legal questions. Coconino County residents can visit the website for information about adult probation, jury duty, and juvenile court cases and schedules. The website also has links for court filing fees, administrative orders, and superior court calendars.
The clerk of the superior court oversees both the superior court and the judicial center. The clerk is elected into his or her position by Coconino County residents. The clerk serves as the official record keeper and financial office for all of Coconino County.
Additionally, the Coconino County Superior Court clerk also carries out dozens of other duties including:
- Providing the public, court, and media with access to all records of the superior court of Coconino County
- Attending all sessions of the superior court to record its actions
- Initiating action in superior court civil, criminal, juvenile, adoption, probate, and domestic relations cases
- Collecting and disbursing court-ordered victim restitution, fines and fees in a timely manner
- Receiving, distributing, and preserving all official court documents
- Storing exhibits for court cases
- Issuing and recording marriage licenses
- Processing all records in juvenile matters like dependency, severance, adoption, and delinquencies
- Processing applications for passports
- Acting as a commissioner to establish jury pools and grand juries for superior court cases as well as county and state trials
The website for the Coconino County Clerk of the Superior Court serves as a resource of information for people who are filing or participating in legal cases being heard by the court. People can start the filing process on the clerk’s website and also find out how much the filing fees are.
People can also upload documents needed for their cases on the website. If they are not sure of what documents to file, they can access the Coconino County law library on the site for the clerk of the county court.
Most of the resources on the website are free to access and updated on a regular basis so people always have access to the most relevant information. The site also provides a list of court contact information for county residents.
Coconino County Sheriff
The office for the Coconino County Sheriff is located at 219 East Cherry Avenue in Flagstaff. Despite being located in Flagstaff, the sheriff serves all of Coconino County. The sheriff’s office defines its mission as providing responsive and effective service to the communities of Coconino County.
It aims to earn the trust and confidence of the public with its integrity and professionalism. Jim Driscoll, the current sheriff, and his deputies strive to fulfill this commitment by developing and maintaining a professional staff, establishing partnerships in Coconino County communities, and dedicating resources and skills to these efforts.
To establish partnerships within the community, the Coconino County sheriff’s office regularly offers training for community members who want to help maintain peace and order in the county. For example, the sheriff’s office hosts Community Emergency Response Team or CERT training on a yearly basis.
People who go through CERT training learn how to become effective members of a team that will respond to major disasters like wildfires and storms. They will learn how to provide medical and fire services when first responders in Coconino County cannot respond to the demand for services.
CERT training also teaches members to provide immediate life saving and life sustaining help whenever needed in the communities of Coconino County. Their CERT training includes:
- Disaster preparedness
- Fire suppression
- Medical operations
- Light search and rescue operations
- Psychology and team organization
- Disaster simulation
CERT training is provided in Coconino County in both English and Spanish.
Similarly, the Coconino County sheriff’s office offers search and rescue training for members of the public who wish to voluntarily serve in this capacity. The Search and Rescue or SAR unit has one full-time sergeant in charge of it. It also consists of numerous sheriff’s deputies and more than 100 community volunteers.
People who undertake SAR training learn how to respond to major disasters like wildfire evacuations. The unit is responsible for conducting and coordinating search and rescue operations involving the life or health of any individual.
The Coconino County sheriff can request assistance from another county. He can also assist in another county’s SAR operations at the request of that county sheriff.
The SAR program has been a part of the Coconino County sheriff’s office for many years. During search and rescue operations, the Coconino County sheriff’s SAR unit partners with other agencies like the:
- Coconino County sheriff’s mounted unit
- Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue
- National Park Service
- U.S. Forest Service
- Arizona Snowball
Deputies and SAR volunteers use a variety of methods and materials in their operations like:
- Alpine operations
- ATVs or four-wheelers
- Snowmobiles or snow cats
- High-angle rescue
- Low-angle rescue
- Maps and compass navigatio
- Mounted and heli-rescue
- Personal locator beacons
In addition to offering training for the public, the sheriff’s office for Coconino County also offers resources for the public on its website. For example, people who want to know if sex offenders live close to them can find out for sure by using the website’s sex offender registration link. This link shows a list of all sex offenders in the county as well as what type of risk they pose to the community.
Further, the Coconino County sheriff’s office offers community services like:
- Fingerprinting and background checks
- Online crime mapping
- Civil process serving
- Dispatch services
- Security detail requests for special events
Members of the Coconino County public can give their feedback about these services by
taking one of the online customer satisfaction surveys found on the sheriff’s website.
Finally, the website for the Coconino County sheriff serves as a source of information about impounded vehicles. People who reside in or travel through Coconino County can have their cars impounded for a number of reasons. The main reasons for vehicle impounding here include:
- Driving without a license in Arizona or elsewhere
- Failing to drive without first using a vehicle ignition interlock device for repeat DUI offenders
- Driving a vehicle that was displayed for sale or transfer of ownership with a vehicle ID that has been previously destroyed, removed, covered, or defaced
- Not being compliant with Arizona’s minimum vehicle insurance requirement
- Being uninsured and in an accident that resulted in property damage or the injury or death of another person
- Officer had probable cause to arrest the driver for underage DUI
Once a car is impounded, the owner, his or her spouse, the lien holder, a repossession agent, or anyone else with a financial interest in the car can request a hearing to have the car removed from impound. This request must be made within 10 days of the impounding. The hearing if approved will be held within five business days after the request was made.
City and Town Police Departments
Coconino County residents are served not only by the Coconino County sheriff but also by the police departments in the communities where they live. All of the county’s various police departments work in conjunction with and alongside the county sheriff’s office. They also operate independently to maintain peace and order in their respective communities.
The Flagstaff Police Department, for example, is located at 911 East Sawmill Road in Flagstaff. This police department is currently headed by Chief of Police Kevin Treadway. It has a core value statement of placing the highest value and priority on human life. It also also aims to provide equal and enforceable standards based on the Constitution.
Other core values of the Flagstaff Police Department include:
- Recognizing integrity as the basis for mutual respect and trust
- Providing exemplary service that will establish trust and confidence in the community
- Promoting an environment that will enable people of Flagstaff to preserve or enhance their own quality of life
The website for the Flagstaff Police Department offers a number of helpful links and resources that the public can use. For instance, people in the city can find out what is new with the department by visiting its website. The updated news link informs the public of new occurrences at the department or any changes that might impact the service that the public receives.
Likewise, people can use the website to read about crime statistics for the city. The crime reports tell where the crimes have occurred and what types of crimes have been committed. People can use that information to keep themselves and their families safe.
The Flagstaff Police Department website also has crime prevention tips that members of the public can read about and use to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. Tips for preventing crime include locking the doors to their homes and businesses, not leaving valuables in their vehicles, and reporting suspicious activities.
People who are victims of crime can make a police report on the Flagstaff Police Department website. The online form for making a report is available day or night so people can report crimes immediately after they happen.
The police department in Flagstaff also want people to know how to prevent becoming a victim of identity theft. Tips for preventing identity theft can be found on the police department’s website. People can also make a report of being a victim of identity theft using that same link.
Finally, the public is welcome to file traffic complaints and late traffic accident reports online. Their reports will be reviewed and responded to by the appropriate police department staff as soon as the reports are submitted.
People in Flagstaff who want to help make their community a better place to live are welcome to sign up for and participate in the annual citizen’s police academy. Information for the police academy for citizens can be found on the city’s police department website. The agenda for the training is also made available right before the academy starts.
Like the Flagstaff Police Department, the police department in Page also offers an annual citizens academy for community members. This academy gives Page residents a chance to learn more about the city’s police operations. People who graduate from the program have the opportunity to become volunteers or VIPs for the police department. They can assist in duties like directing traffic during special events in the city like parades or celebrations.
Other civic police department programs that are available to Page residents include:
- Coffee with a Cop
- Shop with a Cop
- Freshman Focus
- Serving Our Seniors
- National Night Out
- Volunteers in Policing
The Page Police Department regards itself as a professional and progressive law enforcement agency. It employs 21 sworn police officers as well as 12 civilians who fill supportive roles at the department. The mission of the department is to fight crime proactively as well as proficiently in the community of Page.
Moreover, all of its officers are held to stringent ethical and moral codes and expected to exhibit the highest degree of integrity and honesty at all times. They are all highly trained and expected to carry out all of their duties as sworn law enforcement officers.
Further, the Page Police Department coordinates many of its efforts with other law enforceable agencies like the county sheriff. This coordination and collaboration maximizes security and service to the community.
The Page Police Department serves as a source of information for the residents of the city. For example, they can go to the website to learn about preventing crime in their community. The website offers tips for how to stay safe and how to report crimes if they suspect or see criminal activities. Crime prevention tips are available in English, Spanish, and German on the Page Police Department website.
The website also has forms that people can fill out and submit online. For example, the website offers business contact forms for community members. It also has an online contact form that residents can use to get in touch with an officer or civilian employee of the Page Police Department.
A number of the Native American reservations in Coconino County also have their own law enforcement agencies. For example, the Hopi Nation is served by its own resources enforcement services.
The Hopi Resources Enforcement Services was established in 1989 through a Hopi tribal resolution. The department was formally reaffirmed as a law enforceable entity in 1994. Since then, it has been tasked with maintaining law and order on the Hopi Nation reservation.
It exists to enforce Hopi tribal ordinances and state laws. It has two squads, one for range enforcement and another for patrol and traffic enforcement.
One of the primary ways it accomplishes maintaining peace and justice is by overseeing its sex offenders registration. This registration was established by a Hopi tribal resolution and keeps track of and monitors both Hopi and non-Hopi convicted sex offenders who live, work, or go to school within the boundaries of the Hopi Nation.
The Hopi Resources Enforcement Services also abides by its mission statement of pledging to the Hopi people to provide quality and professional law enforcement services in the community. It promises to protect the life, culture, and resources of the Hopi Nation. It also adheres to its cores values of honor, organization, professionalism, and integrity.
Coconino County Jail
Coconino County has two jail facilities for county inmates. The primary one is located at 951 East Sawmill Road in Flagstaff. The second one, which serves as a temporary holding facility, is found at 713 Tunnel Road in Page.
The Coconino County jail is served by a Commander of Detention, an intake lieutenant, a housing lieutenant, a lieutenant of support operations, and lieutenant of the Page facility. The responsibility of providing safe and humane housing for inmates in Coconino County falls to the county sheriff.
The sheriff’s office in Coconino County prides itself on the respect that its employees show to people who are incarcerated in Coconino County. It provides the housing for local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies in Northern Arizona.
The sheriff office’s detention division also takes pride in providing a safe and secure environment for both inmates and staff members. It guarantees that each inmates Constitutional rights will be protected at all times. The sheriff regards this obligation as an important part of the safety and quality of life in the communities in Coconino County.
The Coconino County jail specifically serves as a holding facility for adult offenders who are sentenced or un-sentenced for misdemeanor or felony convictions. The county jail in Flagstaff has a total of 477 beds. The facility in Page has a total of 24 short-term beds for the incarcerated. In fact, the holding facility in Page is used to house inmates on a temporary basis before they are transported to Flagstaff and its county jail.
People in Flagstaff, Northern Arizona, and beyond who have loved ones or friends in the Coconino County jail may have a number of concerns and questions they want addressed right away. Rather than call the Coconino County jail, they can find the answers to most of their questions and concerns on the county jail’s website.
For example, they might want to know how they can get in contact and communicate with their friend or relative in the county jail. They are welcome to write letters and mail packages so long as the mailings adhere to the prescribed standards. These standards are outlined on the county jail’s website and tell what can and cannot be mailed to the facility.
Similarly, they might want to know when visitation hours are and during what times they are welcome to come to the county jail to see their loved ones. The visitation hours are listed on the website for the county jail.
People who cannot make it in person to visit with a jailed relative or friend are welcome to use the video visitation services offered by the county jail. The video visitations can be done on any computer in the U.S.
People can log onto their visitation videos from home, a library, or anywhere else with a computer and Internet service. People who do not have access to a computer or the Internet are welcome to come to the county jail in Coconino County to use this service and visit virtually with their incarcerated loved one.
Another concern that people with loved ones behind bars in Coconino County might have involves how they can fund these individuals’ jail accounts. The jail accounts need to be funded by someone on the outside of the jail so the inmates can make prepaid phone calls. They can also use the money to buy food, personal hygiene items, and other goods from the Coconino County jail commissary.
Details for how to put money into an inmate’s account can be found the website for the county jail. The website also allows people to add money to their inmate’s account safely and securely.
Finally, the county jail in Coconino County welcomes members of the public to volunteer at the facility. Volunteers must meet certain requirements before they are allowed to enter the county jail facility or be around inmates. People who are interested in volunteering for the county jail can find out about these requirements by visiting the Coconino County jail’s website.
The Distance and General Directions from Flagstaff to Phoenix, Arizona
Flagstaff and Phoenix are separated by 145 miles. If you were to drive this distance, it would take you around two hours and 13 minutes to get from Flagstaff to Phoenix.
With its proximity to two major interstates, the journey from Flagstaff can be relatively quick and simple. The most straightforward route calls for you to get onto Interstates 17 south and take it all the way to Phoenix. Once you are in Phoenix, you would take exit 145 to North Seventh Street. You then would take North Seventh to East Washington Street all the way into Phoenix.
This journey, starting from Flagstaff, would take you through sites like Kachina Village and the Coconino National Forest. You also would drive through Bumble Bee and pass by the Arcosanti Cordes Lakes. The final stretch of your trip would involve driving through Black Canyon City, Camp Verde, New River, and Glendale to get to Phoenix. As you near Phoenix, you would also drive through the edge of the Phoenix Sonoran Preserve.
If you wanted to avoid driving on a major interstate for part of the trip to Phoenix, you could take Highway 89A instead of Interstate 17 for the first part of your journey. Highway 89A south out of Flagstaff will take you through the Coconino National Forest just as I-17 does. However, this route gives you the opportunity to drive through Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek until you turn onto I-17.
I-17 then takes you the rest of the way to Phoenix. The drive time for this route is slightly longer at nearly two and a half hours from Flagstaff to Phoenix.