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Tulalip 'Night Out' connects cops with community | SLIDESHOW

TULALIP — The return of the National Night Out Against Crime to the Tulalip Amphitheatre on Tuesday, Aug. 7, drew not only a host of civilian attendees, some from as far away as Lake Stevens and even Canada, but also a number of dignitaries in law enforcement.

Marysville Police Chief Rick Smith was joined by Tulalip Tribal Police chiefs Jay Goss and Rance Sutten — Sutten is slated to replace Goss — as well as Snohomish County Sheriff John Lovick and Snohomish County Prosecutor Mark Roe, who lives locally but had found it difficult to attend previous Nights Out Against Crime in Marysville and Tulalip, due simply to the sheer volume of such Night Out events that take place on the same night within the county each year.

"It's great to see my friends and neighbors here," Roe said. "I'm also glad to see organizations such as Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County, Family and Friends of Violent Crime Victims, and Cocoon House here. While we are the criminal justice system, it's good to see people who are doing their part to ensure justice for those who are touched by crime."

"I always like seeing the kids here," Smith said. "Of course, they love the patrol cars and the big fire trucks, but more than that, this is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to come together. Kids can connect with men and women in uniform, and see us in a different light outside of enforcement, when nothing bad is happening. It lets them know that we're just people too."

K-9 Officer Jeff Crippen, of the Tulalip Tribal Police, connected with more than a few youngsters in attendance, as they watched how 7-year-old drug dog "Rascal" sniffs out drugs and indicates their presence to Crippen. Children who were brave enough to accept Crippen's invitations to come pet Rascal were rewarded by Rascal's affection and enthusiasm, particularly for playing tug-of-war with a ball-on-a-rope toy.

"It was interesting to learn how the dog was trained," said 14-year-old Zac Gooden of Lake Stevens, who also got to turn on the lights and sirens in a patrol car. "They have the dog stick his nose in this long box with a bunch of holes, and one of them has drugs, and every time the dog sticks his nose in the hole with the drugs, he gets the ball."

Attendees of this year's Marysville Tulalip National Night Out Against Crime also received an education on home safety tips, courtesy of firefighters such as Marysville Fire Division Chief and Fire Marshal Tom Maloney, and updates on the state of illegal drugs within Snohomish County, courtesy of officers in the Tulalip Tribal Police Drug Task Force, who asked not to be identified in this story due to the nature of their jobs. According to those officers, increased regulation of prescription and over-the-counter medication has seen a boost in the usage of heroin and methamphetamine, especially along the heavily trafficked I-5 corridor.

Rochelle James of the Tulalip Tribal Police Services estimated that about 200 attendees filtered through the two-hour event, and echoed Smith's assessment of the importance of the National Night Out Against Crime in addressing issues such as illegal drugs.

"The reality is there are a lot of drugs in our community, our children are finding needles at play grounds, and as parents and community members, we need to be educated," James said. "Our children need to see police officers as resources and not enemies. We need to educate families and children about the realities of our community, and come together with solutions to make it the place we know it can be and that we want it to be."

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