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BIA Police Officer

SRPMIC Vice-President Ricardo Leonard shares items that his grandfather the late Juan Vavages Leonard used during his time as a BIA Police Officer.

Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Vice-President Ricardo Leonard recently came across some items that gave him some additional insight on his grandfather, the late Juan Vavages Leonard. The elder Leonard served as a Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) police officer. Among the items were an Indian Police badge, Law and Order books, and identification cards, including a State of Arizona Operator’s License.

The Law and Order books kept a record of all the traffic stops, deaths, fines, court hearings and other law enforcement–related incidents in the Community from 1938 to the 1950s.

“My grandfather also worked with the late Theron Andreas,” said Leonard. “Theron would tell me that my grandfather was the original Barney Fife, before ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ even came out.”

The elder Leonard was also a probation officer and truancy officer. He would keep a car trunk full of shoes to give to kids who didn’t have any, explained Leonard. He was also in the military, serving in the infantry and playing the French horn in the military band. He was married to Monica Mack Leonard of Blackwater in Gila River.