John Fortunato Describes Work in Indian Country

John Fortunato, a special agent in the Gallup Resident Agency, describes working in Indian Country.

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I think every agent that comes out here the first thing they do is drive around, for two reasons: one, to get the lay of the land, and, two, to appreciate all the beauty all around us. This is not something you’re used to seeing coming from the East Coast or West Coast.

On the bottom of every license plate in New Mexico it says Land of Enchantment. And if they’re just talking about the scenery then that statement’s true because it is a beautiful country out here.

When I first got out here I had a very romantic view of working Indian Country and I had my own expectations of what to expect. And a lot of it has lived up to it.

One of the downsides is the type of work that we’re doing we almost invariably just see the bad side. We’re only encountering people that have committed the crime … or aren’t exactly living the best type of life—lifestyle.

So we’re constantly seeing tragedy. We’re constantly seeing loss. We’re constantly seeing people that hurt family members and hurt other people. So it’s a sad side that we have to visit each day. Every time we go out on a case, we know it’s not going to be a pleasant scene. We know it’s not going to be the best of families we’re going to be meeting.

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