By Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News
TULALIP – On May 3, Tulalip Tribes Board of Directors made a historical decision when they selected Tulalip tribal member, Carlos Echevarria, to be the new Chief of Police for the Tulalip Police Department.
The 44 year-old FBI National Academy and Northwest School of Police Staff and Command graduate, is the first Tulalip tribal citizen to hold the office of Police Chief post-retrocession, a process where the Tribe took back jurisdiction on tribal lands in 2001.
Echevarria, a Tulalip police officer since 2001, has completed several law enforcement trainings and academy programs including the BIA Criminal Jurisdiction and Criminal Investigations in Indian Country, U.S. Department of Justice FBI Basic Indian Country In-Service Training, and SWAT Basic Tap/ Rack Tactical.
“I was literally in shock,” described Echevarria, upon learning of the Board’s decision, and who had been serving as the department’s Interim Chief of Police for 11 months prior. “I’ve been so humbled by this opportunity and by the outpouring of community support, both internally and externally of Tulalip Tribes, as well as the support of other state and federal agencies that we work closely with. I am truly grateful; I wasn’t expecting it. Words do not describe how excited I am and how I feel to be the first Tulalip tribal member to be the Chief of Police for Tulalip. I am confident I have all the training and experience to do this. I know the community. The community trusts me and my staff trusts me, and I think it was just the right time. I am very fortunate to be in this position.”
Echevarria, whose his goal was always to become an officer, says his objective for the department will be to focus on collaboration with other tribal departments for safety and community outreach and education.
“My number one goal going forward is to reduce the number of our children that are exposed to violence. And that is far ranging from physical and sexual abuse in the home to school safety,” said Echavarria.
Relying on his training and advice from his mentor, former Tulalip Chief of Police Jay Goss, Echevarria will be starting his career as chief during the first initial Violence Against Women’s Act cases being heard through tribal courts. Tulalip Tribes was selected, along with two other tribes nationwide, to implement special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction under VAWA 2013.
“VAWA was a much needed legislation and now the three pilot tribes have taken on that role of working through many obstacles in working with the Department of Justice to prosecute non-Indians who commit crimes against Native American women in Indian Country. Once this process is complete the other tribes will have a template, so to speak, to follow and a number of issues will have been worked out and it won’t be as difficult for them,” said Echevarria, whose department will become a model for other tribal police departments in handling VAWA cases, and who have already received requests from other tribal police departments to be kept informed of the process.
“It’s an exciting time. My belief in moving forward is we will find ways together to further the Tribe’s goal as a whole and make this community as safe as possible for everyone,” Echevarria said.
Echevarria was sworn into office on May 6, and was joined by numerous local law enforcement and service agencies in addition to the Tulalip community. You can watch his swearing in ceremony on Tulalip TV’s Tulalip Matters program at www.tulaliptv.com or on Tulalip broadband on channel 99.
For more information regarding the Tulalip Police Department, please contact them at 360-716-4800. In case of an emergency, please contact 911.
Brandi N. Montreuil: 360-913-5402; firstname.lastname@example.org