Illicit fentanyl linked to increasing number of overdose deaths in the state

Press Release, Tulalip Police Department

The Washington State Department of Health reports that illicit fentanyl is being detected in new forms and is causing an increasing number of overdose deaths in the state.

In the first half of 2018, there have been 81 deaths linked to fentanyl, versus 48 deaths recorded during the same time last year. This represents an almost 70 percent increase.

Public health officials urge people who use opioids to take these actions to help protect themselves from an overdose:

  • Seek treatment.
  • Carry naloxone.
  • If you witness an overdose, call 911, give naloxone and do rescue breathing. Fentanyl may require multiple doses of naloxone to restore breathing.
  • Never use drugs alone.
  • Be careful about using too fast. Fentanyl is fast acting and deadly. Many experienced opioid users have overdosed or died by using too much, too quickly.

Tulalip has adopted the Lois Luella Jones Law, if you have a friend who is overdosing; you can and should call 911.The law says neither the victim nor persons assisting with an overdose will be prosecuted for drug possession.

Naloxone is a lifesaving medication used to counteract opioid overdose. Naloxone kits are now available FREE for Tulalip Tribal members at Family Services 360-716-4400. Kits are also available at the Tulalip Pharmacy through your insurance company. In addition, visit StopOverdose.org for additional locations that provide Naloxone.

Tulalip Family Services can also help tribal members detox and get treatment, 360-716-4400 or https://www.tulaliphealthsystem.com/BehavioralHealth/ChemicalDependency

Non-natives can seek help by visiting, http://www.warecoveryhelpline.org/or calling, 1-866-789-1511.

Partners with Paws: TPD welcomes two K-9 Officers

K9 Officer Tipper with her partner, Officer Jacob Wilcox.

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

For over two centuries, many law enforcement agencies often relied on a special breed of detectives to help enforce the law and protect their communities. These specialists possess a certain skillset, using their heightened sense of smell to help with search and rescue missions, crime scene investigations and special taskforce assignments involving drugs or homicide. These officers go through extensive training, sharpening their skills and learning a number of commands as well as how to conduct themselves while on duty. With an affinity for serving, protecting and always catching their perpetrator, these officers share many similarities with their fellow police men and women – with a few minor exceptions of course, including the fact that these officers have fur, four legs and a tail. 

It’s easy to see how the term ‘man’s best friend’ came to be. Looking back on the history of K-9 officers, it’s no shocker that dogs have assisted on many major cases throughout the course of time, helping shut down major crime operations and drug distributions as well as tracking runaway youth, fugitives and missing people. K-9 officers are simply motivated to do a good job and are an important asset and an excellent addition to any police department. 

Officer Tre Pruitt with his partner, K9 Officer Kait.

On Sunday November 18, the Tulalip Police Department (TPD) welcomed a new officer to the team by the name of Tipper, a nineteen-month old black lab. The following day, a three-year old border collie named Kait also joined the unit. After several weeks of training, the young lady pups are now officially TPD K-9 Officers and are focused solely on ridding the Tulalip community of illegal drugs.

“This nation is dealing with an opioid epidemic,” says TPD Deputy Chief Sherman Pruitt. “It’s one of the big issues going on right now on this reservation, as well as all reservations throughout the United States. Bringing on two K-9 officers is beneficial for our police department as well as the reservation to combat that epidemic. They are trained to identify certain drugs, as you know marijuana is legal in the state of Washington, so they’re mainly trained with heroin, meth as well as cocaine. We’re exposed to a lot of drugs out here including fentanyl which is ten times stronger than heroin. Having these K-9 units will help combat that.”

Kait’s partner, TPD Officer Tre Pruitt, recently explained the long but worthwhile process of becoming a certified handler of a K-9 officer. He expressed that he always wanted to have a K-9 partner and immediately applied when the opportunity came. Five fellow TPD Officers also applied. They wrote essays, took a series tests and interviewed for a chance to become certified handlers by attending a six-week long K-9 training at the Washington State Department of Corrections Narcotic Dog Academy in Shelton, Washington. After a competitive application process, Officer Pruitt and Officer Jacob Wilcox were selected and traveled to Shelton to meet their new partners. 

“She’s very friendly and calm,” Officer Pruitt beams as his partner obediently sits by his side. “Most of the dispatchers call her a therapy dog, everyone loves her. She pays a little more attention to detail than most other dogs and is very particular with her work. Once she’s tasked with finding something, she’s dead set on finding it.”

All of a sudden Kait sat up at attention and her ears perked up. Seconds later, the door at the opposite end of the police department opened. 

“Who’s that, girl?” Officer Pruitt asked his excited partner. “Is that your friend?” 

He let her off her leash and she did a quick spin before sprinting down the hall. Just as quick as she vanished, she reappeared, only this time she was chased by Tipper. 

The dogs hurried to the large open space at the center of the department. Kait stopped on a dime and Tipper also halted as they faced each other. Kait juked left before immediately running in the opposite direction. Tipper recovered quickly, as she was fooled only briefly, and was now hot on Kait’s tail. The dogs continued to engage in a friendly game of doggy tag before duty called for Kait and Officer Pruitt. Tipper trotted back to Officer Wilcox who happily spoke about becoming acquainted with his new partner.

“She kind of took to me,” he says. “We trained with a bunch of a different dogs and this dog fit with me; wherever I went, she followed. We grew a bond together while at training. She’s a pup so we had to introduce her to narcotics, this is what it smells like and here’s your ball if you find it. She wouldn’t sit right away when she smelled the drugs, she’d actually give me an animated look like, ‘dad I found it, now give me the ball’. So we had to get her to sit, that’s how I know she’s got something.”

Officer Tipper.

The K-9 officers also live in the homes of their partners. Officers Pruitt and Wilcox had to learn how to care for the dogs while off duty and learn what to feed them, what toys they can play with and how their families should interact with them, so the dogs are ready and focused when it’s time to return to work.

“Right now we have the two new K-9s, they will be working primarily late afternoons throughout the evening, seven days a week,” states TPD Chief Sutters. “Our goal is to have at least one K-9 on duty, helping patrol the streets of Tulalip. This is the introduction and part of our overall drug [taskforce] strategy. 

“When there’s suspected narcotics on a call, in a car, in a residence or on a person, the dogs can be summoned to the scene and can use their detection senses,” he continues. “If they detect the presence of illegal drugs, officers are trained to take it to the next step. We want to use all the tools available to protect the citizens of Tulalip. These dogs are great assets to the police department, they can smell through luggage, clothing, locked containers, cars, they can detect narcotics in hidden places that our officers wouldn’t be able to find easily.”

Officer Kait.

During their first few weeks on duty, the K-9 officers have already discovered a significant amount of stashed baggies hidden in vehicles, backpacks and on-person of users entering and leaving the reservation.

Officer Wilcox pointed out that the drugs up north are  made and cut with different chemicals than the drugs they were originally trained with, claiming they emit a different odor. Because of the recent findings, the K-9s are becoming more familiar with the smell of the drugs they will be primarily searching for in Tulalip. 

“If anything, it’ll scare a lot of drug dealers from coming out here, now that they know we have the dogs,” says Officer Wilcox “You’ll be seeing the K-9 officers out on the road and that will impact the amount of incoming drugs.”

Aside from busting local drug operations, Tipper and Kait are excited to get to know the people of Tulalip and will be visiting with the youth at the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy, Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary and Heritage High School. The dogs will also be in attendance at many upcoming community events and are happy to meet you and your family, so be sure to say hello if you get the chance. 

“Bringing our K-9 units out to the community and to the kids at the schools is beneficial for both the department and our community,” says Deputy Chief Pruitt. “Our K-9 officers are a tool and a resource to our agency but are also a friend and a family member. Working for the Tulalip Tribes, we are very family oriented, so bringing on the K-9 officers to the TPD family means we are also welcoming them to our Tulalip family.” 

Tulalip Police Department working to build strong community relations

Mission Highlands resident Ms. Smith talks with Tulalip police officers, Powers and Nelson.   Photo by Joe Dyer.

Submitted by Joseph G. Dyer

Last Friday (10-12-18) Tulalip Police Department (TPD) officers canvassed the Mission Highlands neighborhood to listen to community members and hear whatever feedback they had to offer. Officers were met with community members in a casual setting and learned how they can help meet the needs of the community.

While going door-to-door, TPD officers passed out contact information and gave children badge stickers and refrigerator magnets.

Ms. Henry speaks with SGT. Arroyos. Photo by Joe Dyer.

TPD would like to start a conversation with the community and to help residents feel like their needs are being addressed. Meeting community members in their own neighborhoods is the beginning to that goal. TPD will be visiting other neighborhoods to further that goal and to foster that relationship.

Tulalip welcomes new police chief

On September 24, Police Chief Chris Sutter was formally introduced to lead the Tulalip Police Department.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

After longtime Police Chief Carlos Echevarria resigned back on December 4, 2017, the Board of Directors named Commander Sherman Pruitt interim chief. Since that time, the process to fill the post permanently was ongoing, but it has finally come to a close. On September 24, Police Chief Chris Sutter was formally introduced to lead the Tulalip Police Department.

“The Tulalip Tribes is pleased to announce that Chris Sutter is joining the Tulalip Police Department as our new Chief of Police. Following a comprehensive search for the right candidate, Chief Sutter’s experience and background quickly rose to the top of our candidate pool. We welcome Chief Sutter and his family to our community,” stated Chairwoman Marie Zackuse.

Chief Sutter met with syəcəb staff for an interview detailing his past experience as a law enforcement officer and what his immediate vision is for leading the tribal police department. What follows is an unedited transcript of that interview.

Q: The first thing many are wondering is what is your law enforcement background?

A: I come to Tulalip with 32-years of law enforcement experience. The last 26 years has been with the City of Vancouver in southwest Washington, where I served as assistant chief of police the past 10 years.

Q: Please describe your experience working with Native communities?

A: My experience working with Native communities is more on the personal family side. I’m married to an enrolled tribal member of the Navajo nation. For 38-years, we’ve enjoyed a very happy family and close relations with our tribal family. Also, in my previous role as assistant chief, I held a monthly diversity advisory meeting with representatives of the diverse Vancouver community which included Native American representation. 

Q: Uprooting from Vancouver, will you be living in Tulalip now?

A: Yes, I found a rental home here in the community and am very much looking forward to being part of the community. As the school year completes, my wife and daughter will joining me here in Tulalip.

Q: What are some of the goals you’d like to achieve over the next couple years with the Tulalip Police Department?

A: I have many goals and a high-level vision for moving the department forward. Number one is to make sure Tulalip is a safe and secure place for families, children and the elders. We’re going to start by eradicating the drug problem in the neighborhoods. We’ll also be working on community outreach to make sure people know that their police department is here to serve them. In addition, we’ll be looking into ways we can best serve the fish and wildlife branch of the department to ensure tribal sovereignty and treaty rights are always respected and upheld.

Q: Our last few police chiefs have tried to tackle the opioid epidemic. What are some ideas you bring to the table on this issue?

A: Number one is we can’t allow people to be selling drugs to our tribal members and anyone else in the community. We have to crack down on those who are profiting on this horrible trade that causes such devastating impacts to individuals and families. We’ll be implementing a very robust narcotics taskforce that’s going to take down the dealers. In my opinion, the first step is to go after those people who are bringing the drugs into our community. 

Q: How do you see the Tulalip Police Department engaging with the community going forward?

A: Community engagement is as simple as directing all the officers to make sure they are taking the time to get out of their cars in order to walk and talk with people we serve. Making face-to-face, personal connections is the first step to building a better relationship. We are also going to find opportunities to sit with tribal elders and receive their guidance and wisdom, ensuring we have good open lines of communication. Additional outreach will involve our youth. I strongly believe the youth are our future and the more we outreach, mentor, and guide them to make good life choices the better the outcomes.

Q: Describe your experience working with tribal police?

A: During my time in Vancouver, I acquired experience working with the Cowlitz Reservation and their newly created police department under former Tulalip police chief Goss. Through that connection we built a quality working relationship and provided assistance to each other when needed.

Q: What’s your message to the Tulalip community?
A: I feel blessed to be here to serve the people. My message is we are here to serve you. We want to make sure you always feel welcome and comfortable to make contact with our dedicated staff of officers and civilians. My commitment to the community is we are going to do our very best to make your neighborhoods secure and to make Tulalip Reservation a place residents are very proud to live. 

National Night Out: Tulalip joins in community-police partnership building event

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

It was a gorgeous afternoon, clear skies and just a little over eighty degrees, on August 7. The tide was high and the waters of Tulalip Bay appeared more blue than usual, providing a spectacular view for the Tulalip community as they gathered to celebrate the 35th Annual National Night Out with the Tulalip Police Department (TPD). Held in the Tulalip Youth Services parking lot, the event attracted several families of many generations who they came to have a good time and thank local law officials for protecting the community. 

“National Night Out is an annual event that most law enforcement agencies throughout the United States hold for their communities, typically in the month of August,” explains Tulalip Interim Chief Sherman Pruitt. “The police department and other tribal departments come together to provide resources, that way people can see the services that are offered and provided to them within their community. It’s always a great time. The kids come out, we have jumpies, we have our K-9 officer, we have the police vehicle that kids can go in and out of. Just spending that time so they can see the police officers in a different, positive light.”

That summertime barbeque aroma filled the air while officers grilled up hot dogs for their guests. Attendees visited the many stations at the event, learning about services offered at programs like the Tulalip Child Advocacy Center, the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy and the Legacy of Healing. The Tulalip Office of Emergency Management was also in attendance and provided local citizens with safety information, as was the Tulalip Lions Club who donated numerous books to the youth.

The Tulalip Bay Fire Department was sure to make an appearance at National Night Out to re-spark an old on-the-court basketball rivalry between the two emergency response teams. This year, however, the Fire Department and TPD decided to mix things up, literally, by creating teams consisting of players from both departments on each team. A terrific display of camaraderie as Chief Pruitt passed the ball to Tulalip Bay Fire Department Chief Shaughnessy, exclaiming, ‘hit that Ryan!’

“We’re here to show our support for our local law enforcement and also be here for the community,” says Chief Shaughnessy. “It’s a fun night; the community gets to see their firefighters and their police officers and get in touch with them when it’s not a 9-1-1 call. It’s a great night for everybody to meet up, play some basketball, do some BBQ-ing and see the fire trucks and police cars. We appreciate TPD extending the invitation to us, we’re glad to be here.”

TPD officers gave the youth an up close look at their squad cars, showing them all of the cameras and gadgets they use while on the job. Officers were seen socializing with community members and laughter could be heard from all directions of the parking lot. 

“It was a great turnout,” states TPD Officer, Aissa Thompson. “Everyone brought their families and I enjoy meeting new people. It’s good getting acquainted with the community you don’t always get a chance to interact with on a day-to-day basis. It was great playing basketball with a few of the girls from the community as well. I appreciate everybody coming out.”

As young Tulalip tribal member Kaiser Moses visited each booth, he took a moment to take in all of the good vibes his fellow community members seemed to be exuding. 

“I like to see everybody talking, having fun and getting to know each other a little more,” he expressed. “It’s really important for the law enforcement and community to get together and talk because that’s what makes a strong bond. It’s important to have good communication between the law enforcement and the community because the law enforcement is what protects the community. And you don’t want the community to be afraid of the law enforcement, you want them to be like friends.”

  Another successful National Night Out is in the books for TPD as this year’s event was a smash yet again, strengthening the relationship between the community and the police force that much more. 

“My favorite part is the kids,” says Chief Pruitt. “Seeing them come over to see us and ask questions, because they’ve got an abundance of questions to ask, regarding law enforcement and showing an interest in that. Some of them even expressed that they want to be police officers when they grow up and I love to hear that.”

TPD carries the Torch to raise funds for Special Olympics

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

On the afternoon of May 31, the Tulalip Police Department (TPD) joined other Washington State police departments in the Annual Law Enforcement Torch Run. Police departments from across the Nation participate in the yearly run in an effort to raise funds for the Special Olympics USA Games. Law enforcement officials carry the Flame of Hope to their respective state’s Special Olympics Spring Games to help kick off the competition. 

Washington’s Spring Games took place at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma during the first weekend of June. Several police departments that joined in runs across the state met at the University. TPD participated with a group that began at the Washington State-British Columbia border, joining the team in Stanwood and also running through Quil Ceda Village, Tulalip and Marysville. 

“It was awesome to participate,” says TPD Officer and Torch Runner, David Taylor. “To see the other departments link up together and do something positive for the community is great. Not a lot of people know about the Torch Run, so being able to be a part of it and raise funds and awareness was pretty cool, it meant a lot that they asked us to do it. We ran about twelve miles.”

The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games takes place in Seattle this year at the UW Husky Stadium from July 1-6. Over 4,000 athletes will participate in variety of sports including track, basketball, bowling, golf, gymnastics and softball. For donation information and further details, please visit www.SpecialOlympics.org

Five New TPD Officers Graduate, Represent Tulalip with Pride

Aissa Kline, Frankie Fernandez, Interim Tulalip Police Chief Sherman Pruitt, Forrest Hutter, Haison Doung and Alexander Nelson

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

Thirty new police cadets graduated from the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission’s Basic Law Enforcement Academy (BLEA) on March 15, officially becoming police officers. The graduating class, known as class 763, consisted of recruits from numerous police departments across the state. Among the graduates of class 763, were Officers Aissa Kline, Frankie Fernandez, Forrest Hutter, Haison Doung and Alexander Nelson of the Tulalip Police Department (TPD).

“I’m sure a lot of you have been told by family and friends that this probably isn’t the best time to become an officer of the law, but I have to say now is the perfect time,” expressed BLEA TAC (Trainer, Advisor, Counselor) Officer, Steven Grossfeld to the graduates. “Now more than ever, we need good officers who will use their best judgment during every interaction and bravely protect the citizens of their communities.”

The training is a 720-hour, twenty-week course, which takes place at the BLEA campus in Burien. During the course, recruits learn about criminal law and procedures, traffic enforcement, cultural awareness, communication skills, emergency vehicle operations, firearms, crisis intervention, patrol procedures, criminal investigations and defensive tactics to provide safe and effective law enforcement services.

“The course overall was a great experience,” says BLEA Graduate and new TPD Officer, Frankie Fernandez. “I’m glad I attended because you learn both academically and physically and get the best of both worlds.”

TPD had the largest number of recruits in the graduating class and are expecting even more graduates in upcoming months from both the BLEA as well as an academy in New Mexico.

“There were five of us total in class 763,” states Officer Aissa Kline. “I’m glad we were able to share this experience together, it brought us closer definitely. I look forward to working with them side by side while serving our community.”

The TPD graduates received their certificates from Interim Tulalip Police Chief Sherman Pruitt and their families had the honor of presenting and pinning the official TPD badges.

“I’m really proud of them,” Chief Pruitt beamed. “One of the things I always say to them is represent TPD with pride. All five of them took care of one another because at TPD we’re a family. This is no joke; the academy is really hard. But for them, the real work begins now because they’ve got to start making decisions on their own. They have to use all the skills and everything they learned at the academy and implement them in reality, because at the academy it’s a lot of scenario based training. So now when they hit the street, they’re dealing with real situations, real problems and real people. The instructors at the academy are phenomenal and do a great job preparing them. I know that when they leave here, they’re coming to TPD well trained. I’m thankful to have [the new officers] as part of the TPD family and they definitely represented Tulalip with pride.”

For more information, including how to become an officer at TPD, please contact (360) 716-4608.

Tulalip appoints interim Police Chief Sherman Pruitt

Interim Chief Pruitt

TULALIP, Wash. – December 4, 2017 — Patrol Commander Sherman Pruitt was sworn-in by the Tulalip Board of Directors to lead the Tulalip Police Department. Interim Chief Pruitt is stepping in for former Tulalip Chief of Police Carlos Echevarria who resigned, effective 12/4/17, citing personal reasons.

Chief Echevarria served the Tulalip Police Department since 2001; he was interim Chief of Police for 11 months and in May 2014, he became the first Tulalip citizen to serve as Chief of Police post-retrocession (a process wherein the Tulalip Tribes took back jurisdiction of tribal lands in 2001). He said, “My focus for the Police Department has been to work in collaboration with other Tribal departments for the safety, health, welfare, education and outreach to the community. TPD’s mission is to reduce the number of our children exposed to violence and provide law enforcement support services to assist victims of crime.”

Chief Echevarria’s watchwords, ‘Trust, Pride, Dedication’ remain emblazoned across every Tulalip Police vehicle, a reminder that policing at Tulalip is truly about serving the people.

Chairwoman Marie Zackuse said the former chief left big shoes to fill, “Carlos served our community for 15 years and did an excellent job. We are proud of the fact that he was our Chief of Police and it was with great sadness that the Board of Directors accepted his resignation. His parents and grandparents taught him in a good way and he brought a lot of compassion to his job. He will be missed, my best to him and his growing family.”

Interim Chief Pruitt will serve the department while the Tulalip Board of Directors search for the right person to step in and lead the future of the Tulalip Police Department.

Interim Chief Pruitt is a 21-year veteran of the military; he served 12 years in the United States Marine Corp and an additional 9 years in the Reserve Air Force. He was deployed five times, serving in Somalia, Rwanda and Iraq. In his 13 years as a Tulalip Police Officer, Interim Chief Pruitt has worked as a Patrol Officer, Detective, Patrol Sergeant, Detective Sergeant, Patrol Commander and now Interim Chief. In addition to his duties with the Tulalip Police Department, Interim Chief is cross-commissioned with the FBI and U.S. Marshalls as part of the Safe Trails Task Force, which fights against major crimes in Native America. He is a father of five and is happily married to his wife of 20 years.

“I will make sure we continue to serve with pride and respect,” said Interim Chief Pruitt. “We will continue to build trust with the community, along with mentoring our youth and making a difference in their lives. The Tulalip Tribes is thriving and we want to continue to get even better.”

 

 

 

Learning the business of babysitting

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

A free, daylong babysitting training class took place at the Tulalip Youth Center on Monday, August 1. Boys and girls age 11 and older learned how to perform basic child-care skills like diapering and feeding, first-aid essentials, development stages of children, helpful strategies for play activates, and the subtleties of child discipline.

An astounding thirty-eight youth showed up and participated in the daylong class. In coordination with Behavioral Health and Youth Services, the event aimed at making preteens and teenagers well-rounded caretakers was effective and made an immediate impact for several soon-to-be professional babysitters.

“We were inspired to share a class on babysitting because we wanted to focus primarily on teaching and encouraging our youth to expand their knowledge base, while teaching entrepreneurial skills to those who wished to start up a small business in the community,” states Monica Holmes, Youth Services Parapro. “Babysitting is something many kids do on a regular basis with family and close friends as they become teenagers. We wanted to arm them with the skill sets to be safe and marketable in order take their babysitting to the next step.”

Expanding the youths’ babysitting skill sets was achieved by taking advantage of those who could impart their professional knowledge on the subject, community resources who were willing to connect with the kids to make the biggest impact. Such resources included representatives from Tulalip Bay Fire and Rescue, Police Department, and Tulalip Community Health.

“I talked to the kids about safety in the home, as far as being a babysitter keeping themselves and the children they are supervising safe. We discussed the best practices for keeping kids safe in the home, protocol for answering the phone and what information should and shouldn’t be given out,” says Patrol Commander Sherman Pruitt, a 13-year veteran of the Tulalip Police Department. “We also went over how to stay prepared in the event of an emergency situation while keeping the safeguarding of their children the priority.”

Tulalip Bay Fire and Rescue taught basic first aid, choking hazards and in-home and personal fire safety. They also brought their ambulance and allowed participants to get in and ask questions. Tulalip Police Department spoke to youth about personal and home safety, like answering the door and telephone while babysitting, and what to do in the event of an emergency. Tulalip Community Health helped coordinate all the curriculum and hands-on teaching materials. Suzanne Carson LPN, was the co-presenter for the day and led various break-out sessions.

“We could have taught the class with just one or two instructors, but it seemed more enrichening to include these community partners. We wanted kids to learn from the best but also find people they could look up to or inspire to be like,” continues Monica. “Our community resources became mentors and positive examples in a large sense. It also helped to break down the barriers that sometimes exist between youth and organizations like the Police or Fire Departments.”

After each babysitter selected a baby doll of their choosing, complete with assigning it a gender and name, they were put into small groups. Through the course of the day, the thirty-eight aspiring babysitters rotated between different training stations set-up to replicate various real-life babysitting scenarios.

Instruction stations including the Potty Time Station, which featured all the supplies they’d need to properly diaper, change clothes and swaddle their infant or toddler. There was a First-Aid Kit Station that included supplies for basic first-aid in the event an emergency were to occur while babysitting. There was also a Babysitter’s Magic Bag Making Station, which included supplies, games, toys and arts-n-crafts items the youth could pack into a backpack and bring along with them to any babysitting job to keep their kids occupied and happy.

“Later in the day we designed hands-on Live Babysitting Stations where we invited community members to bring in their children ages 6-months to 10-years to be babysat by our newly minted babysitters,” explains Monica. “This is innovative to most mainstream babysitting classes in that most youth are never given a ‘trial run’ of babysitting in which staff and volunteers could observe, correct and praise their actual skills. We were so impressed with not only the maturity of the youth who attended, but also the drive and desire to take the skills they’d learned and create a real business out of them.”

At the end of the day all participating youth received a certificate of achievement and several take-home supplies to begin their very own babysitting business. Several of the youth have already developed some online advertisements for their new business. One such shining example is 11-year-old tribal member Mariana Richwine.

“I’ve been babysitting my younger sister since I can remember. Taking the babysitting class was fun and I learned a lot of tips and new information,” admits Mariana. “I learned what to do if a baby is choking and how to put a baby to sleep without being smothered by blankets. I’m more confident to babysit babies now that I know how to handle these situations.”

Since learning the added skills and importance of marketing herself as a certified, professional babysitter Mariana has created her own Facebook page titled Sissy’s babysitting service. She was joined in the babysitting class by her younger sister, 8-year-old Malana and older sister, 14-year-old Martelle. Their mother Nickie Richwine shared her impressions of the class she entrusted her three daughters to for the day.

“As soon as I learned about this training I knew my girls would be attending. They have always watched their little sister for me, and in the last two years my oldest ones started babysitting for friends and family. I knew there would be more they could learn in addition to their own experiences, and they did. I was happy to hear that our Tribal police and fire departments were also involved and taught the kids what to do in emergency situations. I feel like my girls are now well experienced and trained to babysit at any time.”

Tribal police teach women’s self-defense class

self-defense-2

 

 

By Niki Cleary, Tulalip News 

‘I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe,’ she kept thinking.  It was supposed to have been the perfect day, a trip to the outlet mall with her older sister. She didn’t even know what happened. She was waiting in the parking lot for their mom when a car pulled up, the man inside smiling and chatty. She knew better than to talk to strangers, so she started backing away when someone behind her pushed her forward into the car. Now she was in the trunk of the car, tied into a giant fuzzy blanket. She kept trying to remember what the guy looked like. What did the car look like? How was she going to get out of here? Then she started gulping air again because she couldn’t breathe.

The above scenario is made up, but it’s a scene that Alicia Horne can imagine all too well.

“They’re young ladies and they’re at the age of human trafficking for sure,” she said of her two daughters, ages 10 and 13. Alicia was one of 12 women who attend the first Women’s Self-Defense class taught by Tulalip Tribal Police.

Alicia explained that she originally signed up for the class to support her co-workers at Tribal Court.

“I came to support my staff. Where I work, we are dealing with people who are cussing at us and trying to intimidate us. I came because the environment I work in is a hostile environment. “

She brought her girls hoping to give them tools to be safer as well.

“I want to make sure they’re self-aware and can protect themselves.”

Instructor, Officer Joshua Warren, has taught martial arts for 18 years and volunteered to teach numerous Women’s Self-Defense classes. He explained that the class isn’t a complete martial arts system, it’s an introductory class geared primarily towards rape prevention.

 

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“The typical police response is six to eight minutes away, depending on where you live,” he pointed out. “That can be a long time.”

Particularly, when, according to the Women’s Self-Defense Institute, the average interaction time between a criminal and a victim is 90 seconds.

“Situational awareness and your voice are your most effective tools,” Officer Warren stated. He also explained that being a good witness is a valuable skill that allows police and courts to do their jobs when a crime occurs. Noting the height, weight, skin tone, hair color and clothes that a person is wearing all helps police find and arrest the right person.

“Because if he’s going to do this to you,” said Officer Warren, “He’ll do it to her, and to her,” he pointed to the other women in the room.

Throughout the evening, the ladies learned how to recognize an imminent attack, and use a handful of techniques to defend against strikes, grabs, and chokes, as well as how to protect yourself if you are on the ground and how to use improvised weapons to defend yourself.

Tulalip Elder Pauline Williams was delighted.

“I wanted to be more empowered,” she explained. “I’m older. I want skills to help me be more alert and aware. I think older people in general are a target and vulnerable. Now, I feel like I’m stronger than I thought I was. I consider myself really feminine, but by putting more of my body into action, it gives me more force.

“It’s essential,” Pauline said of the class. “I’m glad to see the young girls here.”

 

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By the end of the evening, many of the attendees were asking for more classes.

“I would recommend it,” Alicia said of the class. “I think it should be for all ages. I see some good techniques that these kids can use whether they’re left home, left in the car or going to the store by themselves. The crime epidemic has no boundaries for any age or house. When someone is in the mindset of getting what they need, things happen and it’s good to prepare yourself.

“What stuck out to me is certain techniques. When they’re on top of you, that seems like a helpless situation and having a move to get them off you, to me, that move was more powerful than you think it would be. The talking part was pretty informational, it’s a lot to absorb and think about,” Alicia explained, recalling the beginning of the class, when Officer Warren referred to Tribal code 305200 and Washington laws RCW9.16.020, both of which outline a citizen’s right to self-defense.

“I think there should be more classes,” continued Alicia. “When you take your first class, you’re stepping outside of your comfort zone. Then, by the second or third class you have it cemented in your mind what you’re going to do. After your two or three classes, then you should take a refresher maybe once a year. Kind of like CPR classes.”

As the class came to an end, Officer Warren warned that everything he taught was useless, unless the women continued to practice the techniques and strategies that they learned.

For more information or to show interest in additional classes, contact Office Mike Johnsen at the Tulalip Police Department Mjohnsen@tulaliptribalpolice.org.