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Snoqualmie Tribe delays police plans

The Snoqualmie Tribe’s nascent police force will take longer than expected to get off the ground, due to economic impacts and limited funding from the federal government.

Tribal Administrator Matt Mattson told the Valley Record that the Snoqualmies did not get as much money as they had planned from the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs to support the program.

“We still have a police department,” Mattson stated by e-mail. “We have had to push back the date whereby the department will be fully operational.”

“It is in part financial, as we are experiencing some hardship like everyone else in this economic downturn,” he said. “”We do not have the wherewithal to staff a department that can provide the necessary 24 hour coverage, so we have decided to be conservative and push back our timeline a bit.”

The tribal police department had hired a chief and an office administrator last fall. At that time, plans called for the department to grow by about six officers, eventually replacing King County Sheriff’s Department as the primary law enforcement to response to the Snoqualmie Casino.

Randy “Fuzzy” Fletcher, current Tribal Director of Public Safety, has now been named interim police chief. He is creating procedures for a fully operational department.

“We also continue to work with the BIA, King County, the FBI and neighboring jurisdictions so that there will be a seamless transition when our department is fully staffed,” Mattson stated.

The tribe did not confirm the status of Duane Garvais-Lawrence, who was hired as tribal police chief last summer, by press time.

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