On January 7, 1936 the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Senate passed Swinomish Ordinance Number 1, now codified in Title 2, Chapter 7 of the Swinomish Tribal Code. This legislation launched the official creation of the Swinomish Police Department.
In 2010, we were the first tribal law enforcement agency to meet state accreditation standards set forth by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC). Being an accredited agency means that we follow the same policy and procedure as non-tribal law enforcement agencies.
Swinomish officers have general police authority pursuant to RCW 10.92.020. Swinomish officers reference Washington State Law when dealing with incidents of a criminal nature involving non-enrolled subjects both within and outside the boundaries of the reservation. The Swinomish Tribe is federally-recognized and exercises civil jurisdiction over both enrolled tribal members and non-enrolled subjects when contacted within the exterior boundaries of the reservation concerning alleged civil infractions.
Additionally, enrolled tribal members, while not subject to Washington State Law, are subject to the law of the United States. Therefore, officers of the Swinomish Police Department follow both federal law and SITC code when incidents involve potential violation(s) by enrolled members occurring within the exterior boundaries of the reservation.