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Tue, May 21

Chino Valley mayor asks Oath Keepers to be ready to help

On May 11, 1976 a truck carrying 7,500 gallons of anhydrous ammonia from a chemical plant overturn on a Houston freeway. Seven people died and 78 others were hospitalized as the cloud of gas dispersed over the city.

Chino Valley Mayor Chris Marley said he hasn't forgotten that accident, even 39 years later, because he knew someone who was personally affected.

He said it was the first thing that popped into his mind at the last League of Cities and Towns meeting he attended, which included a presentation on community disaster preparedness.

"We've already had some cars overturn on the roundabouts, so it's not too difficult to imagine something similar could happen here," Marley said. "I don't want to get into fear mongering, and trying to scare people, because too much of that already goes on, but it is a good idea to prepare for the worst."

That is one of the reasons Marley said he reached out to Chino Valley resident Jim Arroyo and the Oath Keepers organization. Arroyo gave a presentation of his group at the Oct. 27 town council meeting.

Marley said his vision for the town relationship with Oath Keepers is very informal. The group, comprised of former first responders and military members, would be available in a worst case scenario to assist the Chino Valley Police Department.

For example, handing out blankets during a freak snow storm, or with traffic control. The mayor said he does not have the authority to enter into a formal agreement with the Oath Keepers, so this is an informal arrangement. He added they would be there to support first responders.

Each member of the volunteer group is vetted in advance and has had training in emergency procedures. Also, as former first responders and military members, they understand chain of command and taking orders, Marley said.

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