Charlie Cortez receives Medal of Honor

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

As the search for fallen Tulalip Police Officer Charlie Cortez continues, the law enforcement community is taking measures to commemorate the late officer’s name for generations to come. Police agencies around the country are paying tribute to both Charlie and his family, by speaking his name at roll calls during remembrance ceremonies and vigils, as well as engraving his name into memorial walls that are dedicated to officers who paid the ultimate sacrifice while on the line of duty. 

Most recently, Charlie’s family received a package from the American Police Hall of Fame, a posthumous award of the highest degree, the Medal of Honor. The medal fits perfectly on the memorial wall his loved one’s set-up at his family’s home, complete with photographs of the tribal officer, and displayed next to his many accolades. 

“We got a letter from the American Police Hall of Fame mentioning that his name is going to be etched into the marble at the Hall of Fame Memorial Wall with 8,000 other police officers that have fallen in the line of duty,” said Charlie’s mom, Paula Cortez. “We’re so proud of him but at the same time our hearts break that he’s no longer here with us. The law enforcement world has been phenomenal at making sure that he’s honored and that he’ll always be remembered. That’s special for our family and for his kids who will be able to go and visit those memorials. And in the future, they can share that with their kids, it’s something that will be there forever.”

At the end of the month, on May 29th, a nation-wide traveling event is coming to Tulalip to honor Charlie and all of the officers who transitioned to their next journey while protecting and serving their communities. A large trailer will make-it’s-way throughout the reservation to raise awareness and honor the officers and their families, beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Tribal Justice Center and ending at the Tulalip Marina. The trailer is a project known as ‘Beyond the Call of Duty’ and features the photos and the names of all the fallen officers over this past year.

The Beyond the Call of Duty trailer will be accompanied by the End of Watch Motorcycle Club, which was created in memory of those officers who dedicated their life to the badge and are no longer with us. As it happens, the event takes place one day after Charlie’s birthday, so in addition to the convoy, the local police department and Charlie’s family will be throwing a BBQ celebration for the young, fallen officer at the Marina shortly after the motorcade. 

Thank you for keeping Charlie’s family and the Tulalip Police Department in your prayers. As always, please send any potential evidence, information or your own informal searches to us by texting 360-926-5059, or emailing, or leaving a voicemail at (909) 294-6356.