Background: Fourth Generation Arizona native with great-grandfather moving to Cottonwood in 1891. Raised in Tanque Verde and summers in Remington on the San Pedro River areas, east of Tucson. Graduated University of Arizona Bachelor Science and worked for Department of Agriculture for 33 years.
Situation: My wife had to be in Sahuarita, south of Tucson, to help our daughter-in-law with a newborn cesarean baby and two other children. I needed to pick her up, and, my son is a Firefighter Engineer for Golden Ranch Fire District on the north end of Tucson, south of Oracle. So, we planned to meet in Mammoth, Sunday, January 5 at 6:30 am, to meet my son’s schedule. I live in Snowflake and had to leave about 3 am to make that time schedule. Therefore, at 4 pm on Saturday evening, I decided to drive down Saturday evening to not have to maneuver through the Salt River at 4:am in the morning.
We enjoy our favorite Mexican food meal, and, often work our schedule to eat at La Casita. I also get gas at Mammoth, as the prices are similar to Tucson and I enjoy small town businesses, and the lower gas prices get me further home before I have to buy higher-priced gasoline in the White Mountains.
I arrived and pulled over to sleep at the Mammoth Parkway, along the highway. I was sound asleep (sometime after 10 pm .. I never looked at the time), when I was woken by the bullhorn, spot light and headlights aimed in my eyes. A voice on the bullhorn was advising that a Police Officer of the Mammoth Police Department was requiring that I put my hands up and keep them in plain sight at all times.
I was asked to unlock the door and keep my hands in plain sight, but, with the spotlight in my eyes, I was not sure if it was the police or not; but, I immediately complied, not knowing if a gun was pointed at my head or not. I was asked to produce my driver’s license, which I did. My information was called in to dispatch. With my driver’s license, I also handed my State of Arizona weapons permit, to help with my identity.
I asked what the problem was. The officer stated that I am not allowed to sleep in the Mammoth Town Park, nor, anywhere else, after 10 pm. I stated that there were not any signs and I apologized, and, explained that I was meeting my son and wife there at 6:30 am.
I was asked to leave town and maybe find a place in San Manuel, or, maybe I could head north. I reminded the officer that heading north would be backtracking, and, I needed to be here at 6:30 am. I asked if the San Manuel Junction would be okay, which he agreed to. I moved on as instructed.
My last ticket was in 1993, and, then, 10 years before that. My car being driven was a pearl white 2013 Toyota Venza, so, I do not think I looked like a high-profile vagrant or risk. In summary, I am sure it makes no difference to anyone in the Town Council, or, anyone living in the Town of Mammoth with your policies, since I am just a non-local passing through, several times monthly, on my way to see family, but, as for me and my family, we will have to say that Mammoth has become the most unfriendly Town in the western United States.
Mammoth can keep its Mexican food and gas, as there are much better and people-friendly alternatives to where our family spends its money, traveling through.
/s/Clay Van Deren