In 2019 the Tulalip Tribes Police Department is expanding its programs to improve the livability of the 22,000-acre reservation located west of Marysville.
Tulalip law enforcement officials are looking to recruit additional police officers, increase the drug task force and develop a community response team. That team will work to address issues such as illegal trespassing and camping along with homelessness and its related crimes, that affect livability, said Chief Chris Sutter, of the Tulalip Tribal Police.
The department is looking add a Crisis Response Team which will provide resources for people who are struggling. In addition, the department is looking to develop what Sutter described as a "Hope Team," which is similar to the law enforcement embedded social worker program currently in operation in the Marysville and Arlington police departments.
"We're trying to ensure when we get these calls for service, we have the right resources lined up to help these people," Sutter said.
The Tulalip Tribes Police Department, which is comprised of one chief, three commanders, seven sergeants, 20 patrol officers, 11 fish and wildlife staff, responded to more than 21,000 calls for service last year, said Sutter, who started his position as chief in September 2018.
Officers of the Tulalip Tribes Police Department cover the Quil Ceda Village area which is located west of Interstate 5 from 88th Street to 116th Street. To accommodate the major shopping area, the department implemented an asset protection task force at Quil Ceda Village in which officers will work with stakeholders in the area to address crime, Sutter said. In 2018, officers received 233 shoplifting calls at Quil Ceda Village.
Like the rest of the country, Tulalip is dealing with the opioid epidemic. Sutter said that comes from drug traffickers bringing in illicit drugs, which is generally heroin, but now officers are seeing heroin laced with fentanyl.
All officers, as well as fire and emergency personnel, carry Naloxone, which is a substance that counteracts opioid overdoses. He said that officers have administered the substance, but he didn't have numbers about how often that happens.
Sutter said that training of his officers will continue in 2019. The officers will receive tribal cultural competency training to better interact with members of the Tulalip Tribes. Officers will also undergo implicit bias training so they "always provide the highest level of service in an equitable manner."
Officers will also receive use-of-force de-escalation training that will help them diffuse situations.
Tulalip Police Officers will have their hands full as the department expands to include helping people struggling mentally, providing resources to the homeless, and protecting the public to make the area safer.
"It's going to be a busy year," Sutter said.
For people needing assistance on the Tulalip Indian Reservation, they should call 360-716-9911 in case of an emergency, and 360-716-4608 for non-emergency situations.